living
by
design.

Bullying…

Hmmm…

Where to begin…

The construction industry is full of bullies…

Really?  That’s quite a statement isn’t it Andrew?

Observations…

Not really, I’ve been in the consulting field in the construction industry for nearly twenty years now and have worked closely with those in the contracting field in the construction industry also so I am speaking from personal experience…

A lot of project managers I’ve met on my travels have previously worked in the military…

Yes, that’s a fact…

Interesting isn’t it…

There’s something about the military training of taking blind orders, i.e. no right of response, from superiors which comes in handy for these project managers…

They are taught this in the military and they practice it on those placed under them in the construction industry…

From a consultant’s perspective...

So as a consultant what do you do when you are bullied by a member of the construction industry, most likely a construction companies’ project manager or even the Client’s project manager as was my experience when I worked overseas…

I have always been of the belief that you stand up to a bully…

I am still of that belief…

As a team leader…

As one who has been responsible for project teams of budding consultants while working as a design manager overseas for an international company and who is now responsible for a team of budding consultants in my present employment the most important thing I’ve learnt about my role is to establish a ‘bubble’ of peace which encapsulates our team so that they can focus on their work without the distractions of bullying coming from the outside…

They must be provided with a protected environment where they can flourish and grow in their giftings and passions and get the job – the projects which we are working on – done…

Negativity stifles creativity…

My number one job is to shield my team – who I genuinely love and care for – from all negativity which will sap their energy and cause them to lose motivation…

I learnt fairly early on in management that it doesn’t work to try and manage and complete projects yourself at the same time…

To really ‘be there’ for your team you have to clear your schedule of projects and set aside time for visionary thinking – to give them a future where they are in the company they are in and something to motivate them to grow with and stay with our team – but also set aside time just to be available when they come to my desk so I can give them quality time…

Yes, I get busy but it is a reminder when I find myself completing work myself that I am too busy…

I delegate whatever I can to competent members of my team – as they are able and desirous – so that I can be ‘free’ to be available and take away the stress that may be coming to them from the construction industry with which we are engaged…

If you don’t have a safe haven where you work then what do you have?

Sometimes taking the role of facing the bully for them can take significant time…

But that’s what you have to do to protect your team…

What’s the approach?

So what do you do with a bully?

You stand up to them…

You point out where their statements are unfactual and untrue…

You state back to them the facts…

You do not stoop to their level and start making unfounded accusations or personal put downs…

You do not slander them…

But you do not let them lie about your or your team members’ performance…

You do not let them lie about what they and you have supposedly agreed on…

You stand your ground and show them a better way…

Where their actions destroy the unity of the contracting and consultancy team for a project, you encourage unity…

Wherever possible you overlook their faults, you work with their faults…

If they make personal accusations or slanderous comments against your team members’ however, you step in and intervene…

You deal directly with them from that point on…

You make a point without stating to them that you are making a point…

An analogy…

One of our team members challenged me on this earlier this morning when we were discussing this issue as a team, their comment was, “then you’re bullying them back”, later on in the afternoon another of our team members said, “If you’re not using the same techniques that they’re using then you’re not bullying them back”…

That resonated with me…

The analogy of someone setting up a whole lot of dominoes in a specific pattern to achieve a pre-selected result is pertinent here…

One member of the construction industry pushes another and then that one falls onto the next one pushing them over and on and on and on it goes until one falls onto someone in the construction industry who refuses to be pushed over…

They are an immovable object…

The initiating member of the construction industry isn’t pleased…

They come down the line of dominoes and pause at the immovable one in displeasure…

This one has wreaked their entire plan…

Then they bring out their arsenal of weapons…

And start to chip away or outright assault the impediment…

They bring out condemnation…

They bring out accusation…

They bring out fear…

They bring out intimidation…

They bring out manipulation…

They bring out control…

They bring out public humiliation…

They bring out commercial or job security threats…

They twist your words…

They lie…

They slander…

They put you down…

They demean you…

They do whatever they can to make you curl up and die…

For that is what they desire, for if you are out of the way then their bullying domino party can continue…

Really?

Am I overstating this?

No, I have experienced it personally and I have experienced it occurring to my previous project team members as well as our present team members and have had to step in and ‘nip it in the bud’…

On a number of separate occasions…

And although the protagonists are different – and even from different nationalities and countries – the techniques are remarkably the same…

The underlying issue…

The bully is insecure…

They bully those they view as a threat…

Take heart if you are a consultant in the construction industry who is being bullied – you are doing something right…

You are challenging the construction industries’ bullying ‘status quo’…

Do you stop working for the bully in the middle of an assignment?

I don’t believe so if you have a strong team leader who will defend and protect you then they should shield you from the need to have direct contact with the bully if this is what you desire…

If you don’t and there is no shield or no protection from your team leader and you perceive that the culture of your consultancy company has been overrun by the bullying attitude of the construction industry then it might be worth leaving this consultancy company and researching one where they have a stated zero-tolerance policy against bullying – as I am defining above…

Reality...

Life is too short to have to interact with negative, critical and bitter people…

Like attracts like…

There are people out there who think the way you think and will not tolerate bullying…

Find them…

There is hope… <img draggable=

Andrew J Horton
09 August 2016

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