Danger: Chronic Confrontationitis, Part 3

September 18, 2013 — 4 Comments

If you’ve been reading the past few weeks you are aware that Chronic Confrontationitis  may be present in your organization.  The problem with this disease is that it really is an organizational cultural issue. If the organization as a whole does not reject Chronic Confrontationitis, there is little the individual can do to change a misguided company culture.

Ron Leishman_Bullying Cartoon

Successful programs aimed at reducing workplace bullying need to be instituted at the corporate level. For leaders facing this issue within their organization, here are a few suggestions for a comprehensive approach:

Policies Against Harassment:

Leadership in the workplace must establish clear policies against Chronic Confrontationitis and for healthy conflict resolution. Pacifying and siding with the diseased individual does not help move the organization forward. Be exceptionally clear that the disease is unwanted and inappropriate, and that negative behavior is not acceptable to help people begin to understand where to draw the lines. Define and clarify what the consequences of Chronic Confrontationitis are (and that the organization will enforce them). Every individual throughout the organization should know what the policies are, as the afflicted often distort their understanding of the rules to justify their inappropriate behavior.

Prevention of Chronic Confrontationitis:

Create a program designed to reduce the occurrence of this destructive disease. By involving all levels of employees and management, the organization will have a much better chance of changing the culture, as opposed to simply initiating a top down initiative. If an inclusive approach is taken, it is critical that top management strongly supports it in a meaningful way, or it will fail.

Educate Employees:

Training people to support each other and teaching them how to set limits on their afflicted colleagues is more effective than just establishing company policies. When everyone feels responsible for the quality of the environment, it will relegate those with Chronic Confrontationitis to the sidelines. In contrast, when people know that “anything goes” or “it’s not my problem,” the disease is more likely to run rampant throughout the organization.

Create Confidential Lines of Communication:

Many of those afflicted are in positions of authority over their targets. Therefore, policies which require reporting Chronic Confrontationitis (or bullying) to one’s immediate superior are completely ineffective. There must be an independent resource available for reporting Confrontationitis to the organization and to leadership.

Consequences:

There have to be real consequences for those with Chronic Confrontationitis, which everyone can see. Other potential bullies will be more careful to follow the rules and other potential victims will know that they work in a place where they will be protected.

Strategy:

The strategy should always be to put the policies and tools in place to support: 1) the safety and education of the individual and 2) a change in the culture of the organization.

Those with Chronic Confrontationitis are only effective when they’re on solid ground – ground that can be taken away. Unsolicited bad behavior must be dealt with directly, so that you protect yourself and your organization. Learning to handle confrontation appropriately benefits everyone, but it may also transform your organization.

Chronic Confrontationitis is troublesome for everyone. Addressing diseased individuals courageously gives everyone in the workplace an opportunity to transform it into a more productive workplace — and a place where everyone wants to be.

What is your strategy to reduce Chronic Confrontationitis in your organization?

Please engage the discussion and let us know how you plan to reduce Chronic Confrontationitis in your organization. Feel free to contact me at  Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back soon for the next post on Leadership Across Boundaries and Borders.

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Sheri is The Global Coach, founder of Luminosity Global Consulting Group, Global Executive Coach, Speaker, Writer and Global Business and Cultural Expert.

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4 responses to Danger: Chronic Confrontationitis, Part 3

  1. I found myself nodding vigorously on every point, excellent article Sheri, . I also believe that in some cases, the afflicted individual may be a high performer, or someone who manages upward very well and this may cause some level of reluctance on the part of management to deal with the situation (or even worse case scenario, hope it simply blows over). Thank you

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