What Should You Do if You Report to an “ASS Kicker”?…Forgive Them

 

 

There are various styles that leaders use to drive growth. Some unfortunately are less intentional and fall into a bullying and “ASS Kicking” mode. So what are you to do if you find yourself reporting to an ASS Kicker?….believe it or not you must forgive them.

In business, ..Heck,.. in life ,you will encounter all types of people. Some will stand out as mentors for you .My first job, right out of college was a route salesman for Frito-Lay. I see now I was blessed to have worked for an amazing mentor named Harry Jones. He was ; firm fair and consistent. He owned his areas of responsibility. When I made mistakes (often back then) he took the pressure from above and used the mistake as a teaching moment.

Unfortunately I have experienced many  leaders who lead by intimidation , bullying their teams and they frequently looked for : “What ASS to Kick” instead of the defining the nature of the problem that needs solved. They fail do the heavy lifting of finding market truths and they shoot from the hip and their gut.

I feel comfortable discussing “Ass Kickers” as regrettably this was my style early in my career. I drove  my teams through intimidation. Sure I mentally justified my actions with thoughts like;

They will thank me some day   ( none ever did)

 

It is the quickest route to the objective ( wrong, it often caused many other concerns)

 

People need to be driven  ( no, they need to be led, and leadership is difficult )

 

They know what needs to be done and are just not “ motivated” “accountable” ( wrong, in most cases my communication was poor and the team lacked a clear understanding of the objective and they did not have the tools to win)

 

The solution to the problem at hand is the only consideration. ( little or no consideration for the relationship with those involved, win battle lose war)

With  thoughts like above and others racing through their minds, leaders with a low emotional intelligence lead by “ASS Kicking”. Without a leadership filter that also considers the big picture, corporate values and the relationships with those involved they spew their  kicking , throat choking rhetoric.

Sadly, this behavior has a common root: Fear.

As I discussed in my post : Are You Looking For “An ASS To Kick”…” Throat to Choke” or a Solution to a Problem?… (There is a difference) leaders who use a bully approach are very afraid. In their fear they become frustrated, anxious, and more fearful the challenges they face will somehow tarnish their reputation and or political power.

 

So what do you do if you work for an Ass Kicking Boss?…..FORGIVE  THEM

What? Are you nuts? This guy (gal) treats me like crap and I am supposed to just forgive them?” ….Yes!

I heard once; anger and resentment are like acids that only damage the vessel that contains them.

 

If you hold on to the anger, hurt, and so on you feel from your throat choker it will hurt you physically, professionally ,emotionally, and financially.

So forgive them. The first reason to do so is it is Biblical. Finding faith , the truths in the Bible is what taught me the errors of my ways and empowers me to serve my teams today.Second , you must release the anger festering inside . ( I promise you your ASS Kicker has already forgotten what they said to you) Third, your inner anger and frustration , if left unchecked ,will bleed into your relationships with customers, and more important your loved ones.

“ASS Kickers” are not dumb people. Chances are they busted their ( you know what’s) back in the day, earned their bones on a daily basis. They are not happy people. My recommendation is to gather raw unfiltered data as fast as possible and present that data and ask them what they would do. You may need to also make sure, once you see the data , that you truly are doing the best job you could be doing. If not , admit it and commit to improve.

If you take my advice, gather data ( facts without judgments) see how the leader reacts….

If they roll up their sleeves and offer to help, hang in there.

If they blow up again, and actually make the problem worse…leave.

Good value adding employees do not need to put up with an abusive boss.

You are not trapped in this job.

You are not a slave, owned by this employer.

Yes it is frightening when you mentally commit to leave, however you will also gain peace as you can tolerate the abusive boss while you know there is light ahead ….and it’s not a train.

There are many people who have written about abusive/ bad bosses and below are some links if you want to hear other’s views;

What To Do When Your Boss Is A Jerk

 

If Your Boss is a Jerk, Don’t be a Willing Victim 

 

When you work for a Bully 

 

How to Handle a Bullying Boss

 

How to Deal With Bully Bosses

 

Tactics Of A Workplace Serial Bully Boss

 

Bad Boss-Health This Week with Don Baillargeon  ( you tube)  

 

Fox News – Dealing with a Bad Boss – Joe Takash ( you tube)

 

 

So if you work for an ASS Kicking boss…forgive them and remember you are in control of how you feel.

 

You can choose to become angry and bitter and lose yourself in self-pity, or you can choose to forgive them and release that internal acid.

 

You are in control as you can also leave and add value somewhere else.

 

 I Attended an awesome seminar years ago by the Covey institute and I think it was called the Power Principle. simply stated;

“you are not free to stay….until you are free to walk away”

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Are You Looking For “An ASS To Kick”…” Throat to Choke” or a Solution to a Problem?… (There is a difference)

When things go wrong, (or not according to plan) how do you and other leaders in your organization react? (go ahead, be honest…it’s just the two of us…) Do you and other leaders look for “What ASS to Kick” or “What Throat to Choke”? Or do you focus on determining and defining the problem and setting out to develop a creative solution?

Your answer will determine if you are on a “market leading” team, or a “market Losing” team.

Predictably our President Obama used some hard talk, harsh rhetoric in a recent interview. I am not going to debate if he was too cool and calm to this point, and if he should have or shouldn’t have said he was looking for “What ASS to Kick”. What I want is for you to watch this You tube clip of the interview and ask yourself how it makes you feel if this was someone you reported to.

Go ahead click this link…I will wait…

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQ3nSUdsOeU .

Ok, so how did it make you feel?

 

Before we judge the president too harshly… do you or your organization allow and practice this behavior of blame storming? You sure? When I saw this interview I first thought his language was predictable in the sense that the news media was challenging his calm demeanor during this crisis. So I expected some much stronger language. However when someone in a position of leadership takes this bully approach it quickly makes me feel like they are not a part of the problem or solution. It as if they are a leader trying to distance themselves from the problem as opposed to owning it and being a part of the solution.

When a business leader speaks like this to his or her team ( or me) , they are basically saying…” I don’t know what to do…I am frustrated…my assumption is you know the problem …the perfect solution, and you are choosing not to work,…you are not motivated( accountable)  to execute what needs to be done for one reason or another…and I am tired of looking bad” It’s ok to admit a problem frustrates you. However it is not ok to take your frustration out on others.

Leaders who jump into blame storming mode are more concerned about how the current situation makes them look…”politically”. They are actually fear motivated as they are fearful of how the current situation may somehow attach and tarnish their personal reputation. Blame storming is about reducing their exposure, their fear, by becoming “above” the situation. The trouble is when you enter fear mode, your creatvity needed to solve the problem shuts down.

Do you feel you would be loyal to a leader so quick to look for someone to “Throw under the bus?”

 

Market leaders gather data and perform triage not to find a “Throat to Choke” ( hold people more accountable) but to establish truths versus relying on their gut and intuition.

Market leaders clearly define the problem and humbly seek the advice of experts that have solved problems like this in the past. They seek out advice and develop a plan, a roadmap to a solution based on the data gathered and they manage the process not the people.

Market leaders use problems and challenges to strengthen their teams, and their teams loyalty to them and the organization.

So again I ask….What kind of organization do you work for?

 

Is there ever a time “ASS Kicking” or Throat Choking” is the solution? (I don’t think so but hey…I may be wrong. so please share)

 

Should we seek out “who to blame”?

 

Or

 

Should we clearly define the problem and set out to solve it?

 

Or do you believe ( as one CEO said to his senior leadership team before a  board meeting) : “We need to identify a fall guy for —– as I do not want it on my head”

Again, feel free to argue with me…but I believe people come to work with the desire to add value, the desire to make a difference. If you truly have an accountability problem then shame on you as the leader for allowing it to result in a problem ( disaster) like you are now facing.  Accountability problems do not just show up one day, they fester over time.

As the leader, your job is to create a culture that focuses on the problem and not the person. 

Your role is to  rally your team to break through problems and roadblocks. ( not look for someone to  run over)