Bigwigs Behaving Badly Understanding and Coping with Notable Misbehavior A Presentation for OAMSS. Kendall L. Stewart, M.D. November 12, 2004. Bigwigs often behave badly.
Kendall L. Stewart, M.D.
November 12, 2004
Because of their status or power, bigwigs regularly indulge in destructive behavior with no significant adverse consequence.
Temper tantrums are overlooked.
Intimidation is accepted, even reinforced.
Verbal abuse is tolerated and tyrants are lionized.
Even physical abuse and destruction of property are more common than we would like to admit.
But tolerating and thereby encouraging such behavior exacts an awful price.
Disruptive behavior wounds others and leaves lasting organizational scars.
After listening to this presentation, you will be able to
Describe three ways in which bigwigs regularly behave badly in our organizations
List three consequences of such behavior
Identify three strategies for minimizing such destructive behavior
Explain why those strategies should be pursued
Detail how these approaches can be practically deployed in your organizationWhy is this important?
Misbehaving bigwigs almost always take pains to hide their behavior from peer and superiors.
By the time it’s obvious, irreparable damage may have been done.
A failure to confront encourages additional misbehavior.
A good number of bigwigs simply do not know how to behave.
How can you?
Monitor the grapevine.
Observe your subordinate’s subordinates when in her presence.
Most insecure leaders can’t resist bragging about their outbursts; they want their behavior to be legitimized.
Seize that opportunity to model appropriate confrontation.
Make your behavioral expectations clear.Recognize warning signs and intervene early.
Emotional people are not reasonable.
Our defense mechanisms are strongest when we are aroused.
Emotional arousal is contagious.
A calm leader helps to prevent collateral emotional damage.
Most emotional leaders feel they have every right to be upset.
They believe someone “made” them upset, or they believe they cannot help themselves.
How can you?
Monitor your own emotional arousal.
Let some time pass.
Focus on remaining a curious observer instead of being drawn in as a participant.
Accept the legitimacy of the flawed leader’s frustration while challenging the behavior that was a consequence.
Ask clarifying questions instead of disagreeing directly.Let the emotional dust settle.
Feeling justified, they want to talk about“why” instead of “what.”
Behavior can be objectively described. Motive cannot.
Most aroused people are not fully aware of how they behave—or perceived.
Behavior can be controlled; feelings are much more difficult to control.
How can you?
Insist on objective documentation of observed behavior.
Document the brutal truth about the offending bigwig’s behavior.
Refused to be sidetracked during discussions about behavior.
Stop rewarding misbehavior.Focus on behavior, not motive.
Whatquestionsdo you have?
Southern Ohio Medical Center