WORKPLACE BULLYING: WHY AND HOW TO STOP IT—NOW!

I remember feeling tired, just worn out. I didn’t feel like fighting anymore. It wasn’t worth it. The “boss” had won. She could replace me with someone, anyone she thought could do the job better. The daily struggle to do my job, prove myself and keep my staff inspired in a toxic work environment while navigating her unpredictable bully tendencies of condescending, disrespectful, unwarranted jabs and humiliating comments in front of others, had taken its toll.

But, I wasn’t completely defeated. Despite the unbelievable pursuits and intimating tactics of my supervisor, the president, and his executive assistant to get me to sign their pre-written letter of resignation, I refused. Not a chance. If you want me to 
go, then look me in the eyes and tell me. Say it! Say, “You are fired!” No one had the courage to say it to my face; instead, my boss slipped a letter under my office door.

According to some stats, I’m just one of nearly half of all American workers who’ve been affected by workplace bullying.

As a direct target, I witnessed firsthand how being bullied affects morale, productivity, absenteeism, retention, succession planning, and employee health—including my own.

This recognition fueled my purpose, passion, and mission to influence how people feel about themselves and how they communicate with others. I knew that self-esteem, branding and effective communications were platforms to help me move past bullying, as well as pillars to improve behavior and workplace performances. After all, given my success in helping to transform hundreds of workplace cultures through employee development and becoming a go-to media expert, I felt a sense of satisfaction. Plus, being sought by major publishers to share my philosophy, reminded me I was on the right track.

However—there was a heighten truth and awareness that flowed through me as I read a written apology from my former boss admitting and owning her internal struggles when she was responsible for creating opportunities for me to develop and grow so that I could provide greater value to the organization—but instead harassed and then fired me.

As a workplace expert and speaker for the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Speakers Bureau, it brings me to a great place because back then when I needed human resources, my HR office had no power, no influence, no say.

Now, by teaming with SHRM, I get to further impact the culture of workplaces around the world by providing development services that will help human resource professionals develop their personal brand and executive presence to be seen, heard and respected throughout the entire organization. Further, I’m confident that when human resource

professionals are in the C-Suite speaking the truth, cultures will change, employees will advance and businesses will grow and evolve beyond expectations.

Here are a few tips human resource professionals can embrace to showcase their value:

  • Connect, Communicate and Advocate: When I went to human resources, I could see that they wanted to advocate for me but didn’t know how. So instead, they shrugged their shoulders and felt sorry for me. Looking back I can clearly see that the director of human resources didn’t know how to connect and communicate the impact of the toxic culture on the president’s agenda. 
•

 

  • Become the Hub for Organizational and Employee Progress: Get leadership’s 
attention by connecting and communicating how a problem is hindering the CEO/President’s goals. Then, advocate for change. I don’t ever remember reading a workplace policy handbook in its entirety until I needed to know the views and policies of certain behaviors. And, as a workshop presenter, when I’ve asked employees if they’ve read it, few hands are raised. What I discovered is leadership’s behaviors are the “unwritten rules” of the organization. In the eyes of the employees and leadership, when bad behavior goes unchallenged it’s because “human resources” isn’t doing its job.

 

  • Think Under Cover Boss: I can’t tell you the number of people who email or phone me to share that they work for a toxic boss and are frustrated because human resources will not help. I’ve sat at the table in the C-suite and I’ve learned this: the CEO or president of the organization is looking for solutions to problems that they are too far removed to see, but are very clear these type of challenges have a drastic effect on the organization. Be the voice that confidently and courageously speaks up.

 

© 2018 S. Renee, a nationally recognized Self-Esteem, Branding & Communications Expert, Speaker, Coach, is a workplace expert and SHRM Speakers Bureau Presenter. She is the author of Self-Esteem for Dummies, 5 Steps to Assertiveness: How to Communicate With Confidence and Get What You Want, The Bridge to Your 
Brand Likability, Marketability, Credibility, Our Hearts Wonder Prayers to Heal Your Heart & Calm Your Soul, There Is More Inside: Personal Essentials to Living a Power- Packed Life. You can learn more at srenee.com.

 

FROM BROKEN TO BELIEVING: STEPS TO REINVENTING YOURSELF

I remember feeling tired, just worn out. I didn’t feel like fighting anymore. It wasn’t worth it. She had won. She could replace me with someone, anyone she thought could do the job better. The daily struggle to prove myself, do my job, keep my staff inspired in a toxic work environment plus navigate her unpredictable bully tendencies of condescending, disrespectful, unwarranted jabs and humiliating comments in front of others, had taken its toll.

But, I wasn’t completely defeated. Despite the efforts of my boss, the president and his executive assistant scheming to get me to sign their pre-written letter of resignation, I refused. Not a chance. If you want me to go, then look me in the eyes and tell me. Say it! Say, “You are fired!” They didn’t have the courage to say it to my face; instead, my boss slipped a letter under my office door.

I laugh at that cowardly behavior today after reinventing myself, receiving a written apology from my former boss (that wasn’t slid under my door) and becoming nationally recognized for my work, but that experience was mental and emotional torture when I was going through it. It wasn’t a small feat to reinvent myself and design a brand that would catch the attention of major corporations, media outlets, and publishers. There were a lot of decisions I had to make before I could land my first gig, media interview or book deal.

Reflecting on that time in my life, I realized that I had already seen the vision that I’d be doing something other than serving as Director of Public Relations. I had written in my journal exactly what I believed God had spoken to me. Deep down I knew the truth, I just couldn’t own it at the time. The truth is, at that time, I didn’t have the courage and confidence to stake claim to my space in the world. Isn’t it ridiculously sad that we are so fragile? Unfortunately, we replace our God-given powers for our fragile insecurities.

All I had to do was say: Yes! to the vision, God had shown me for my life. Yes! to the possibility that the image in my mind and the feeling in my heart were the truth,  and understand that the doubts running through my head were a lie. Yes! to the belief that if I put myself out there, I’d be supported by the spiritual world. I’d meet people on my path that would appreciate what I was trying to create and help me, and I would appreciate and support them. Click the title to watch a video to understand what my trademark message, There Is More Inside is all about.

Remember, when I left my job, I was broken and feeling lost. Okay, maybe more intensely disappointed in a system that failed me than broken, but the point is this: they robbed me of my livelihood for no good reason–and didn’t care.

This is what learned as I navigated that challenging time and made my way to the top in the self-development industry:

  • Decide what you want to give the world. For me, I want every person to know they have the right to feel good about who they are and create the life they want by practicing spiritual principles and building a brand.
  • Write down your vision. I wrote my vision down in my journal years before landing the Director position. I knew I desired to become nationally known by writing and traveling the world teaching people spiritual principles and how to own their truth and courageously live it by being personally accountable for their life.
  • Put your pride aside. I earned great success during my 20s. In my early 30s, after being fired, I was without income, but I was trying to pursue my purpose. As a result, the debt was rising and my stress level increasing. I put my pride aside and took a job as an assistant manager at WalMart. Yes, people were asking, “What happened?” They were wondering what happened to me because I was on the fast track to success.

I didn’t explain myself. I stayed focused on my target. No good could come from engaging in conversation with people who would only keep a negative conversation going and give power to my doubts.

By staying focused, I created the spiritual space for me to work on writing my first book, There Is More  Inside: Personal Essentials to Living a Power-Packed Life.  This would’ve been difficult if I would impose more suffering on myself. 

  • Reflect on your life. By pausing and thinking about your life’s journey, you’ll notice themes and messages that allowed you to clearly see a marketable message that will resonate with people.
  • Crafted a brand message around your life challenges. I used my story and the lessons I learned to craft a message that related to national issues and solved problems. You can do it too.
  • Decide what image you want to project. As a former model and television talk show host, I understood the importance of image and how it influences people’s perception of you and how they respond to you. I wanted to make sure that when the spotlight finally made its way around to me, I would be ready to showcase and clearly communicate my value to others.
  • Attend workshops. You don’t know what you don’t know, but I knew it was important to find out what I didn’t know so I attended conferences and workshops, which gave me the opportunity to watch leaders in the industry, learn from them and make myself known to them–even though I was still marinating on who I was going to be in the marketplace.
  • Put into action what you learn at workshops. Attend workshops with the intention to learn and implement what you learn immediately. By doing so, this commitment served as the building block to my business and helped me to grow steadily.
  • Hire a coach. I hired a personal and business coach. I needed to understand what may hinder me from reaching my goals and identify any blind spots. You’d be surprised what can happen and how much you’ll grow from getting a proficient coach.
  • Launch your newly reinvented brand into the marketplace. In September 2005, approximately 3.5 years after being fired, I launch my business. In the last 13 years, I’ve had the good fortune to work with over 100 organizations over 9 industries (95 percent are repeat clients), coached approximately 300 small business owners and employees logging over 600 hours, be interviewed by some of our nation’s top journalists and signed two book deals.

The first was with Wiley, one of the world’s top academic publishers,
and the second was with Callisto Media, one of the fastest growing
online publishers. As the author of 5 books, I wrote and launched a
new book every 2.5 years. This helped me to remain relevant in the
marketplace. As a result, I’ve been invited to share platforms with
some of the nations most influential leaders.

What’s most important? I have been able to wake up every day and be used by God.

I’m not sharing this with you to impress you, but to impress upon you what can happen when you DECIDE you will no longer be filled with doubt, but fueled by faith!

How about you, what’s happening in your world? What are your challenges? What needs to change? What are you willing to change? Are you pursuing the vision God has given you? If not, why not?

© 2018 S. Renee

S. Renee is a Certified Professional Coach and a nationally recognized Self-Esteem, Branding & Communications Expert, Speaker, Coach & Author. She is the author of Self-Esteem for Dummies, 5 Steps to Assertiveness: How to Communicate With Confidence and Get What You Want, The Bridge to Your Brand Likability, Marketability, Credibility, Our Hearts Wonder Prayers to Heal Your Heart & Calm Your Soul, There Is More Inside: Personal Essentials to Living a Power-Packed Life. You can learn more at www.srenee.com

ARE YOU OUT OF STYLE? What you should know that leadership isn’t telling you.

In the ever-changing, extremely competitive marketplace—in addition to slaying micro-managed leadership styles that squash creativity and risk-taking—a well-rehearsed, staged presentation that fits what you think leadership is looking for is not going to fly anymore. Therefore, an image that mirrors leadership is no longer a guarantee for success. If they already have one, why do they need another? You have to give them a logical reason to want to pay the big bucks for you! And unlike the last several decades where showing up for work on time, keeping your mouth shut and doing your job secured rewards, career advancement now depends on innovation, intellectual property, and value proposition.

Get this: According to Google, Googlers (the term used to describe employees of Google) “thrive in small, focused teams and high-energy environments, believe in the ability of technology to change the world, and are as passionate about their lives as they are about their work.” Notice how they describe their environment as high energy. This is what we used to call fast-paced environments. Fast-paced describes a behavior that leads to a mindset. The mind is often overwhelmed, confused, and frustrated because its environment is controlling its thought process. High-energy describes a mindset that leads to a behavior. In this case, the mindset is already established prior to entering the workplace. It is focused, creative, and free to make decisions. Big difference, wouldn’t you say?

Also, take note of the statement that they are as passionate about their lives as they are about their work. This means that their work doesn’t create their life, their life creates their work. When your life mirrors your work then you are living your passion at home and at work. When your work mirrors your life you are trying to make your life fit the work. This path has led to a lot of unhappy people. In the past, our work defined us. When the shift came we were given permission to define our work by bringing our experiences, creativity, and passion to our jobs. As Rick Warren, bestselling author of The Purpose Driven Life was urging us nearly a decade ago to find and live a purposeful holistic lifestyle. Read more 

©2011 All rights reserved. The Bridge to Your Brand Likeability, Marketability, Credibility will be available in paperback beginning August 15, 2011. Pre-order your copy today.