Compliments of National Library NZ via Flickr

Compliments of National Library NZ via Flickr

Impression management should make us careful when encoding. Past behavior precedes your presence like an imperceptible force field, either attracting or repelling people you encounter. If you’re considered boorish, even ReputationDefender™ cannot help you in the court of public opinion.

Bullies feel invincible because they’re rarely held accountable. In actuality, these are never the people you want running the show. Misplaced bravado may garner short term gains, but will not reap loyalty over the long haul. Recipients of plumb assignments aren’t awarded high fives from frightened onlookers, nor do they receive social accolades from those residing on the same immature spectrum.

Consider storefront brands. They experience one of two possible outcomes: either they’re hot sellers, or they end up as inventory that’s shipped to the warehouse. What differentiates the ones that fly off the shelves from recalls and also-rans is value added. Do others perceive that you have positive benefits? In other words, what have you done for your peers lately? Because of you do they feel enriched/enlarged/improved in the last week? If your actions have been self-centered (or mercurial), perhaps a realignment of your product offering is in order. Consider the following recommendations for brand reformulation:

  • Do you require a new label? The RFID chip inside your package may be emitting a negative signal – is it brutish, splitting, self-centered, exploitative, unsupportive, or just plain mean-spirited? Ask others of a similar rank to tell you the truth. What they reveal might enlighten you.
  • Does your quality need upgrading? Bargain basement goods will disappoint despite the wrapper. Well heeled shoes will never compensate for substandard content. Reformulate your offering by seeking counsel: in the form of anger management, therapy, or an in your face assessment from an executive coach. Sometimes stark reality is the only message bullies understand.
  • Are you too rich for peoples’ blood? Do your protection/good works/recommendations arrive at a price? Subservience is only granted when recipients reside lesser in rank. Whey they can look you in the eye, they may choose to avenge your “kindnesses.” To avoid retaliation, make sure your words are just as digestible going down as they were coming up.
  • Do you leave a bad aftertaste? Post interaction, do people feel blindsided, sideswiped, patronized, unjustly blamed, or just plain grimy? Transparent communications up front may avert a later public relations disaster.

Remember that you are the only brand you have. Make sure people don’t issue a recall.

Related posts:

A modest proposal: Pay to quit for workplace bullies

The neon signage of you

How to bully-proof yourself at work

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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