How to Get Abrasive Leaders to Change

by Jun 28, 2023

Abrasive leaders, also known as “workplace bullies,” engage in aggressive behavior because they are truly unaware that their actions cause so much damage to those around them. A lot of times, they are labeled as narcissists or gaslighters because they display these kinds of behaviors. Sure, they know they’re seen as hard managers to work with, but they probably think their management style makes them effective leaders. 

This lack of awareness is the reason your conversations about behavior change aren’t working. They discount your feedback, or think employees are incompetent. Here’s a script you can use to get their attention:

You: “We’ve had a steady stream of complaints about perceptions of interactions with you – we don’t see this with other managers. This is not acceptable and cannot continue.”

 

Abrasive leader: “You weren’t there.” “They need to be managed that way.” “They make too many mistakes.” “Why are you taking their side?”

 

You: “I don’t know what happened; I wasn’t there.  But I do know one fact: several people feel they are being treated disrespectfully, and that one fact has to change.” 

Notice you’re not engaging in a “fact battle” but instead arguing one very true fact that is inescapable – people believe the behavior is too aggressive, and that has to change. And to help you better understand and change these behaviors, we’re offering a FREE WEBINAR on “Workplace Bullies & Abrasive Leaders: Why They Act that Way and How to Make Them Stop” on July 19th, 10 a.m. PST! This webinar is worth 1 SHRM PDC, so claim your spot now!

PS. Check out Catherine’s TEDx Talk on workplace respect and kindness, where she talks about the importance of being an upstander when witnessing bullying behaviors. To help your company foster an upstander culture, you can check out Catherine’s LinkedIn Learning course, Bystander Training: From Bystander to Upstander or reach out to us to implement this training in your workforce!

 

Do you know how much money chronically bad behavior costs your company? Spoiler alert – it’s a LOT higher than you want it to be. Download our data and worksheet to see how it’s costing your organization and what you can do to fix it.

 

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

Can a Wage Increase Make Employees More Productive?

In California, the upcoming minimum wage boost for fast food workers to $20 starting April 1st has ignited discussions about its potential influence on worker productivity.  Currently, the median hourly wage for fast-food workers in the U.S. is $13.43, while in...

Why Every Leader Needs to Worry About Toxic Work Culture

Employees quit their jobs for different reasons, and a major one is because of a toxic workplace environment. In fact, researchers discovered that between April and September 2021, toxic culture was the main reason why employees decided to leave their jobs. A toxic...

Civility Partners at 15 Years!

2024 marks an incredible milestone for us—our 15th-anniversary celebration! Yes, you read that right—15 years of making a positive impact on over 270 organizations served, thousands of employees, and millions of people worldwide! Thanks to the vision of our founder...

Driving Organizational Success Through Behavior Change

How can you make your workplace more exciting and successful?  Organizational success is not solely dependent on strategies or cutting-edge technologies. Instead, the key driver of success lies within the organization itself—specifically, within the collective...

How Much is Your Culture Costing You?

Creating a positive workplace culture isn't just a nice-to-have; it's a key player in the success of any business. It goes beyond token gestures like wellness days and promotions; it's fundamentally about how you treat your people, the support you extend to your team,...

Are you bamboozled by your company’s culture?

Your first day at a new job is a lot like embarking on an adventure. You step through the doors, eager and optimistic, your mind filled with expectations set by the promises of the company’s values and mission. For some, these principles are more than just words on a...

The Brave Leader’s Edge: Vulnerability in Leadership

How many times have you cried in front of your team? How many times have you admitted to not having all the answers or feeling unsure about the direction ahead? In the traditional realm of leadership, these instances might have been considered taboo or signs of...

3 Organizations that are Combating Technology-Facilitated Abuse

The reach of technology is astonishingly broad. It's awesome how it brings us all closer, but when it's not handled well, it can cause some serious problems too. From monitoring phone conversations to tracking someone's every move through GPS, access to emails, texts,...

Five Essential Tips for Effective Workplace Communication

Effective communication is like the secret sauce that makes a workplace go from good to great. Whether you're a team player or steering the ship as a leader, honing your communication skills is a game-changer. According to Grammarly, poor communication in the...

Craft a Thriving Culture for 2024 and Beyond!

The turn of the year often marks a time for personal resolutions, but what about resolutions for the workplace? According to Gallup, employee engagement in the U.S. saw its first annual decline in a decade -- dropping from 36% of engaged employees in 2020 to 34% in...