Workers are Not Your Punching Bag

Workers are Not Your Punching Bag

Workers are Not Your Punching Bag

A couple of weeks ago the whole family had been out on Friday evening at various activities. Once everyone was finished, we decided to call into Macca’s on the way home and get dessert.

My daughter wasn’t sure what she wanted so we went inside to order on the touch screen. While we were there, there was a situation unfolding at the counter. From what I could figure out, a group had caused an issue in the drive-thru and been refused service. Rather than leave, they parked and rang the store and abused the Duty Manager who hung up on them, and now one of them had come inside to continue the argument in person.

So we had someone about 50 years of age unloading on a kid of about 19.

Having placed our order, my kids and I were waiting as things really began to escalate with language such as “You have no idea who I am. You should be very scared.”

Now, I have to tell you that if I was alone I probably would have jumped in before this point – as I have done plenty of times in the past. But when the kids are with me I exercise a bit more caution.

However, this was one of those moments of truth where I had to weigh up having my children see me get involved in a confrontation versus modelling what’s right. After all, one of the things we encourage in them is “Be an upstander not a bystander.” Plus, if it was happening to my child at work, I would hope somebody would back them up.

So, my kids witnessed me publicly confront a bully.

Was it something I wanted them to see? No.

Was it something they needed to see under the circumstances? I believe so. I don’t want them thinking that that sort of behaviour is normal and that it is just part of life when you work in customer service.

According to the retail and hospitality union, SDA, over 85% of workers are being abused while at work. That’s not ok.

The world has a lot of problems at the moment. We are in a mental health crisis as it is. If we are any chance of healing our society, I think it begins with setting certain standards of behaviour towards others in our everyday interactions and not tolerating abusive behaviour when we see it.

I should point out that I didn’t abuse this person in return or get personal with them. That wouldn’t help. I confronted them about their behaviour and firmly told them why it was wrong. They initially tried to get personal with me but I stuck to my point, and they gave in pretty quickly and left.

What if I can’t intervene in a situation directly?

If you think you might be in physical danger by directly intervening in a situation, DON’T DO IT. If someone is violent, or violence is a real possibility, call the police or security (if you are in a place that has security officers on duty).

If the abuse is verbal only but you just don’t have the confidence to intervene directly, there are other things you can do. For example, maybe walk up to the counter and ask a question as a distraction. Or, simply stick around at a safe distance until it’s over then offer your support to the person who has been abused.

Whatever you do, just don’t let it slide and don’t assume someone else will help.

Contact David Wise

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Don’t assume that a skill is also an enjoyable activity

Don’t assume that a skill is also an enjoyable activity

Don’t assume that a skill is also an enjoyable activity

I’m good at stacking the dishwasher. That doesn’t mean I enjoy it. I can also make a pretty mean coffee on my home espresso machine. However, I don’t want to make coffee for 200 other people.

Most of you could probably relate to having something in your life that you do well, but it’s not how you would want to spend your days.

And yet…

How often do we classify people and then assign tasks to them based on their ability to perform a task without asking if they actually enjoy it?

“Jane is great with spreadsheets. We’ll get her to do that.”

Yes, sometimes the task is part of the job the person signed up for and sometimes we just have to take one for the team and do something we don’t enjoy.

I’m not talking about that.

I’m talking about when we assume that because Jane is great with spreadsheets she must really like it, and so we label her the Spreadsheet Queen and load her up with working on everyone’s spreadsheets.

Meanwhile, if Jane hates working on spreadsheets but has left it too late to speak up for herself, she is in for a world of misery.

How do we stop it?

It’s really simple. When we catch ourselves making that assumption, remember to ask a couple of extra questions…

“Do you enjoy doing this?”
“Does it energise you or drain you?”

And if you’re ‘Jane’ in this story, you need to find the assertiveness to speak up. You may disappoint a few people, but it will be better for your sanity in the long run.

Photo by Wendelin Jacober from Pexels

Contact David Wise

0427 360 293
[email protected]

Connect on Social Media

Or look up @davidwisewords on any of the above platforms

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Start your week off with some 'Wise Words'. Each Monday (except public holidays) receive some great communication and personal development tips PLUS you will be the first to receive updates on upcoming training opportunities.

Introvert At Work. Hold That Thought.

Introvert At Work. Hold That Thought.

Imagine you’re a marathon runner and you’re just getting into that zone where you’ve settled into a comfortable rhythm. It’s taken a few miles to settle into that rhythm but now everything is working well and you’re really making good progress. All of a sudden someone you know beside the road calls your name and steps out in front of you waving their arms.

You feel obliged to stop running and ask “What’s wrong?”

They say “Oh, nothing. I just saw you running along there and haven’t seen you for ages so I just wanted to say “Hi!””

What?

You resist your desire to to choke them, politely say “Hi” and get back to your running. Except now you’ve lost your rhythm and it takes a while to get back into it again. Unbelievably, just as you are getting back into your zone, it happens again! And of course, once again, you have to start over and try to re-focus on the task at hand.

Outwardly you try to be polite but underneath you are absolutely seething. Isn’t it obvious you are busy with something? By the time it’s happened another eight or nine times you are ready to explode with rage. Your head is spinning and your body is so tense that it’s impossible to think about anything – let alone what you were doing in the first place. In the end you either don’t finish the race or it takes about ten times longer than it should.

Hands up if this scenario reminds you of a typical day at the office?

Every time you get into your ‘zone’ you feel someone hovering at the door, the phone rings, or someone just barges in. Every time it happens you feel your stress levels rising.

The odds are that you are probably an introvert and you aren’t alone.

Even though roughly 50 percent of the population are introverts, it is one of the dilemmas of modern life that workplaces are very much designed to suit extroverts.

If allowed, we introverts can get deep inside our own minds to a place that is extremely productive. The problem is that things like open plan offices, technology on tap, and the idea that being a ‘team player’ means always being available, are all barriers to getting to and staying in, ‘that place’. Once interrupted it can take a long time to get back to where we were.

It’s not that we aren’t sociable – introversion and shyness are different things. We’re quite happy for a chat during morning tea and lunch and many introverts are actually great speakers and insightful leaders – it’s just that we need space to let our minds work without our thoughts being interrupted.

For the extroverts, when you see an introvert deep in thought, please be assured that they don’t need to be cheered up or rescued. In fact they are probably deliriously happy being alone with their own thoughts. If you have a thought that you feel must be shared straight away or you will absolutely die, please try to find another extrovert who may appreciate it. Once the introvert has accomplished what they need to, they would probably love to hear about it as well.

 

Contact David Wise

0427 360 293
[email protected]

Connect on Social Media

Or look up @davidwisewords on any of the above platforms

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Start your week off with some 'Wise Words'. Each Monday (except public holidays) receive some great communication and personal development tips PLUS you will be the first to receive updates on upcoming training opportunities.