Workplace issues

Losing through Intimidation

Apparently some people who read Robert J. Ringer’s popular book in the 70s, “Winning through Intimidation” didn’t come away with the same message as I did. While the title put some people off, the real content of his message was more about how to be prepared to deal with intimidation when faced with it, not to use it as a “How To” guide to get what you want.

I know, firsthand, that intimidation is alive and well, having recently spent several months on the receiving end of it. Not that I didn’t recognize it.  I just didn’t have the luxury of  ‘gaming’ when keeping  my job took a front seat to a quashed ego and marginalized skills.

Yes, I know, companies have people who are supposed to handle that sort of thing — the ‘people-people’, if you will, better known as HR. But depending on the political environment you’re in, it’s not always an easy call to make.

So, what would prompt a reasonably intelligent person into a reign of intimidation? How about the new person they just hired doing the job too well? If you do your job too well, (maybe better than the person who hired you), then they look bad, or they think they do.  That’s a no-no (nothing is good unless they say so). Or maybe you make friends easily and know how to work with difficult clients. (Even when you-know-who warned you in advance about them). You work faster than your manager. (Slow down or, again , the manager might lose points).

And so it goes.

I have to say, it amazes me the extent to which some people will go to have their way.  They’re like bulldozers, flattening everything in their path.  It is a bit frustrating for the ‘intimidators’ when the ‘intimidatee’ offers little or no combative response.   The bully must then find new ways to push the ‘react’ button, which keeps them out of your hair temporarily.

Bottom line, I don’t recommend anyone enduring this for extended months, but it is best to understand the game.  Try as they will, these masterminds of intimidation, to drive you to distraction,  they are the real losers.  They miss out on the wealth of resources that you were trying to contribute, if only they had stepped out of the way, had a little more self-confidence, performed as a supportive manager not a micro-managing-moron, and let you do what you do well — get the job done, on target, on time and on budget.

Maybe intimidators just enjoy the game more than they do getting the job done.  Personally, I would rather work.