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As a manager, you can usually handle disruptive employees. But sometimes, their emotional states foster workplace tension, even making them a danger to others. Your own confidence is at risk. In The Manager’s Guide to Bullies in the Workplace: Coping with Emotional Terrorists, noted counselor Dr. Vali Hawkins Mitchell gives you sensible advice for keeping the bully from dominating the workgroup and destroying productivity – and maintaining your own healthy emotional balance at the same time.

Sometimes the difficult person is an overt physical bully, which makes it easy to simply fire the person. Much of the time, however, the problems are more subtle and build up over periods of time. They undermine your ability to manage your team – and they can spread to the rest of the team, destroying teamwork and productivity. In this short book, Dr. Vali helps you to:

Recognize the types of upsetting work situations that bullies exploit to their own advantage, such as change, grief, and violence. Understand why emotional terrorists make it so difficult for you, as a manager, to deal with their behavior. . See the symptomatic tools and techniques of the emotional terrorist, such as harassment, lying to supervisors, tampering with documents, etc. . Conduct training to help other managers and team members recognize and handle the signs of impending emotional conflict – you will love the “Snakes in the Schoolyard” exercise. . Know exactly what to say and not say when you must have a one-on-one interview with someone you consider to be a bully. . Be an effective manager in a world of challenges – protecting and preserving the mental health of your employees and yourself. .

Dr. Vali uses realistic examples and humor to help you handle the challenges you face – and to show the degree to which she really understands your situation. With her guidance, you will be more comfortable with knowing when you can handle the situation through simply being the good manager, when you need to call in an outside mental health professional, and when you need to call 911.

Reasonable variations of human emotions are expected at the workplace. People have feelings. Emotions that accumulate, collect force, expand in volume and begin to spin are another matter entirely. Spinning emotions can become as unmanageable as a tornado, and in the workplace they can cause just as much damage in terms of human distress and economic disruption.All people have emotions. Normal people and abnormal people have emotions. Emotions happen at home and at work. So, understanding how individuals or groups respond emotionally in a business situation is important in order to have a complete perspective of human beings in a business function. Different people have different sets of emotions. Some people let emotions roll off their back like water off a duck. Other people swallow emotions and hold them in until they become toxic waste that needs a disposal site. Some have small simple feelings and others have large, complicated emotions. Stresses of life tickle our emotions or act as fuses in a time bomb. Stress triggers emotion. Extreme stress complicates the wide range of varying emotional responses. Work is a stressor. Sometimes work is an extreme stressor.Since everyone has emotion, it is important to know what kinds of emotion are regular and what kinds are irregular, abnormal, or damaging within the business environment. To build a strong, well-grounded, value-added set of references for professional discussions and planning for Emotional Continuity Management a manager needs to know at least the basics about human emotion. Advanced knowledge is preferable.Emotional Continuity Management planning for emotions that come from the stress caused by changes inside business, from small adjustments to catastrophic upheavals, requires knowing emotional and humanity-based needs and functions of people and not just technology and performance data. Emergency and Disaster Continuity planners sometimes posit the questions, ?What if during a disaster your computer is working, but no one shows up to use it? What if no one is working the computer because they are terrified to show up to a worksite devastated by an earthquake or bombing and they stay home to care for their children?? The Emotional Continuity Manager asks, ?What if no one is coming or no one is producing even if they are at the site because they are grieving or anticipating the next wave of danger? What happens if employees are engaged in emotional combat with another employee through gossip, innuendo, or out-and-out verbal warfare? And what if the entire company is in turmoil because we have an Emotional Terrorist who is just driving everyone bonkers?" The answer is that, in terms of bottom-line thinking, productivity is productivity ? and if your employees are not available because their emotions are not calibrated to your industry standards, then fiscal risks must be considered. Human compassion needs are important. And so is money.Employees today face the possibility of biological, nuclear, incendiary, chemical, explosive, or electronic catastrophe while potentially working in the same cubicle with someone ready to suicide over personal issues at home. They face rumors of downsizing and outsourcing while watching for anthrax amidst rumors that co-workers are having affairs. An employee coughs, someone jokes nervously about SARS, or teases a co-worker about their hamburger coming from a Mad Cow, someone laughs, someone worries, and productivity can falter as minds are not on tasks. Emotions run rampant in human lives and therefore at work sites. High-demand emotions demonstrated by complicated workplace relationships, time-consuming divorce proceedings, addiction behaviors, violence, illness, and death are common issues at work sites which people either manage well ? or do not manage well. Low-demand emotions demonstrated by annoyances, petty bickering, competition, prejudice, bias, minor power struggles, health variables, politics and daily grind feelings take up mental space as well as emotional space. It is reasonable to assume that dramatic effects from a terrorist attack, natural disaster, disgruntled employee shooting, or natural death at the work site would create emotional content. That content can be something that develops, evolves and resolves, or gathers speed and force like a tornado to become a spinning energy event with a life of its own. Even smaller events, such as a fully involved gossip chain or a computer upgrade can lead to the voluntary or involuntary exit of valuable employees. This can add energy to an emotional spin and translate into real risk features such as time loss, recruitment nightmares, disruptions in customer service, additional management hours, remediations and trainings, consultation fees, Employee Assistance Program (EAP) dollars spent, Human Resources (HR) time spent, administrative restructuring, and expensive and daunting litigations. Companies that prepare for the full range of emotions and therefore emotional risks, from annoyance to catastrophe, are better equipped to adjust to any emotionally charged event, small or large. It is never a question of if something will happen to disrupt the flow of productivity, it is only a question of when and how large.Emotions that ebb and flow are functional in the workplace. A healthy system should be able to manage the ups and downs of emotions. Emotions directly affect the continuity of production and services, customer and vendor relations and essential infrastructure. Unstable emotional infrastructure in the workplace disrupts business through such measurable costs as medical and mental health care, employee retention and retraining costs, time loss, or legal fees. Emotional Continuity Management is reasonably simple for managers when they are provided the justifiable concepts, empirical evidence that the risks are real, a set of correct tools and instructions in their use. What has not been easy until recently has been convincing the ?powers that be? that it is value-added work to deal directly and procedurally with emotions in the workplace. Businesses haven?t seen emotions as part of the working technology and have done everything they can do to avoid the topic. Now, cutting-edge companies are turning the corner. Even technology continuity managers are talking about human resources benefits and scrambling to find ways to evaluate feelings and risks. Yes, times are changing. Making a case for policy to manage emotions is now getting easier. For all the pain and horror associated with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, employers are getting the message that no one is immune to crisis. In today''''s heightened security environments the demands of managing complex workplace emotions have increased beyond the normal training supplied by in-house Human Resources (HR) professionals and Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs). Many extremely well-meaning HR and EAP providers just do not have a necessary training to manage the complicated strata of extreme emotional responses. Emotions at work today go well beyond the former standards of HR and EAP training. HR and EAP providers now must have advanced trauma management training to be prepared to support employees. The days of easy emotional management are over. Life and work is much too complicated.Significant emotions from small to extreme are no longer the sole domain of HR, EAP, or even emergency first responders and counselors. Emotions are spinning in the very midst of your team, project, cubicle, and company. Emotions are not just at the scene of a disaster. Emotions are present. And because they are not ?controllable,? human emotions are not subject to being mandated. Emotions are going to happen.There are many times when emotions cannot be simply outsourced to an external provider of services. There are many times that a manager will face an extreme emotional reaction. Distressed people will require management regularly. That?s your job
Emotional Tornados in Your Workplace Can Be Just as Destructive as the Natural Kind If your company employs human beings, there are emotions at work. Emotions are part your company's culture and need to be as astutely managed as any other potential disruption to your business. The old paradigm of separating humans from humanity during work hours is not only antiquated thinking, it's high risk behavior. Emotional management should not be the sole domain of a few employees. Everyone can be awake and aware of the concepts and tools in this new book to effectively manage and channel workplace emotions. Of course, just as there are gamblers in "tornado alley" who ignore the warning sirens, you get to decide how much risk your company can absorb. Dr. Vali Hawkins-Mitchell, a leading authority in the growing field of Emotional Continuity Management, makes a compelling business case that the human emotion factor has a calculable, direct impact on the fiscal bottom line. She describes an event involving two rowdy employees who became violent over a work-related decision and how its effects led to her provocative new insights into the cost of mismanaged emotions in the workplace: Walking the halls, I saw, felt, and heard the disruptive effect of these two workers on 600 people. It was like experiencing the rubble of any other disaster. There was no physical wreckage, but the full range of emotions was exactly like that of any natural disaster. Everything was exposed and raw as if a common energy had stripped away the veneer of civilized behaviors. No infrastructure kept people safe in the presence of these out of control employees. People took sides, hid, ran, quit, overworked, underworked, ate too much, drank more, complained more, went silent, changed jobs, exited. They reacted as if all their system had been tossed into the air and was never going to land again. From that experience, I became sensitized to the differences between small gusts of emotions with no power and those with catastrophic force. Small variations in behavior can be early warning signs of trouble. "Dr. Vali" explains her own "Emotional Tornado V Chart" based on the Fujita scale, a method to observe, predict, prepare, plan, and write policy to manage workplace the full range of workplace emotions. She details how to control the employee "spinning" after emotionally-charged events, such as the effects of an abusive manager, layoffs, employee illnesses or stressful family situations, suicides, and headlined homicides. She gives special emphasis to managing office bullies and workplace emotions before, during and after an emergency or disaster. Dr. Vali offers these critical steps to all levels of management: Understand that emotions are going to happen, have measurable costs, can be managed in a compassionate manner that supports people and the bottom line, and don't go away just because they are suppressed, ignored, or devalued. In fact, they will distort and become even more lethal. Achieve realistic buy-in at the top - the CEO, owner, senior leadership - and briefly teach them key tools. With such awareness in place, emotions rising in the system can be reflected back into it in a healthy form with tools that increase loyalty and productivity. Managers will know that if a "tornado" breaks out, supports are already in place. Teach everyone, from the bottom up, tools to manage emotions.The primary key to emotional continuity management is that everyone is on the same team using the exact same tools, creating comradeship as well as intelligent procedures and policies.
As a manager, you can usually handle disruptive employees. But sometimes, their emotional states foster workplace tension, even making them a danger to others. Your own confidence is at risk. In The Manager’s Guide to Bullies in the Workplace: Coping with Emotional Terrorists, noted counselor Dr. Vali Hawkins Mitchell gives you sensible advice for keeping the bully from dominating the workgroup and destroying productivity – and maintaining your own healthy emotional balance at the same time.

Sometimes the difficult person is an overt physical bully, which makes it easy to simply fire the person. Much of the time, however, the problems are more subtle and build up over periods of time. They undermine your ability to manage your team – and they can spread to the rest of the team, destroying teamwork and productivity. In this short book, Dr. Vali helps you to:

Recognize the types of upsetting work situations that bullies exploit to their own advantage, such as change, grief, and violence. Understand why emotional terrorists make it so difficult for you, as a manager, to deal with their behavior. . See the symptomatic tools and techniques of the emotional terrorist, such as harassment, lying to supervisors, tampering with documents, etc. . Conduct training to help other managers and team members recognize and handle the signs of impending emotional conflict – you will love the “Snakes in the Schoolyard” exercise. . Know exactly what to say and not say when you must have a one-on-one interview with someone you consider to be a bully. . Be an effective manager in a world of challenges – protecting and preserving the mental health of your employees and yourself. .

Dr. Vali uses realistic examples and humor to help you handle the challenges you face – and to show the degree to which she really understands your situation. With her guidance, you will be more comfortable with knowing when you can handle the situation through simply being the good manager, when you need to call in an outside mental health professional, and when you need to call 911.

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