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You Think Your Work Enemy Has Declared War: She Just Thinks It's Thursday...

"Some men just want to watch the world burn."

-Michael Caine in "The Dark Knight"

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Intent is a funny thing.  You're in the workplace, and the workplace has established norms: Some men

--We talk to each other before we make decisions or take meaningful action

--We give people a heads up before we announce something that won't feel good to them

--We try to play nice and if confronted, we try to make the person confronting us feel good about our intent.

Of course, those are norms - guidelines if you will, not hard rules.  Every once in a while, you run into someone that does not give two ****s about your norms.  They do what they want, when they want and generally don't give you heads up that it's coming or make you feel better if you ask them about it after the fact.

You know, ass####s.  But in the era of Donald Trump, we're pretty quick to assign full villain status to people who don't play by the rules.

What's interesting about the people like this you think are enemies in the workplace is the following:

You think they're out to get you based on chaos they cause.  They probably think it's Thursday.

They aren't even thinking about you.  Tearing shit up is just what they do.  In the age of Trump, we're likely to cast them as villains and think they're out to get us.  That might be true, but in my experience, people who cause chaos can be factored into 3 categories when it impacts you:

1--They're out to get you.  It's what you thought.  They hate your guts, you're in the way and it's takedown time. 10% of the time, this is the reality.

2--They have a plan and a place they want to be unrelated to you.  They have a POA (plan of action) that's bigger than their relationship with you. You're taking it personally, but the "tearing shit up" and chaos impacts multiple people, not just you.  They're not even thinking about you, Skippy. 70% of the time, this is the reality.

3--They don't have a plan but love to keep everyone off balance as part of their managerial DNA.  Again, it's not about you.  Their business is chaos and by the way, the more positional power they have, the better that business is. 20% of the time, this is the reality.

Unless you're experiencing flavor #1 above, your best strategy is to keep an eye on it but ignore it.  Go about your business.  You do you, let them do them and save your emotional reaction and gun powder for when it really matters.  

If you're high sensitivity, this is going to be hard.  They're going to wear you out.  You think it's the workplace version of Normandy.

It's actually Thursday.  What's for lunch?

Comments

Marc Effron

Kris -- I try hard not to post comments on other people's stuff, but had to say 'nice job.' Everyone should read Jeffrey Pfeffer's' book Power which describes both the science and practice behind your story abovve. Those who gain and exercise power do so in a planned and calculated way and it's about them, not you. Also, 1) while you say "she," men more typically display those behaviors and 2) we in HR should stop stigmatizing power-seeking behaviors and help everyone understand how to use them to be more successful.

Makoa

Very interesting perspective on this subject! Understanding co-workers/manager's personality types is something we briefly discussed in our previous blog post, we welcome you to read our tips on this topic and share your thoughts if you feel inclined :) http://advizzy.com/effective-workplace-communication/

MattL

Nice piece.
I try to always assume it's not about me because it's not helpful to assume otherwise.
And, even if it is about me, maybe they are just having a bad day/year.

Crab meat alfredo with a salad and some iced tea.

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