Toxic People At Work – The Art of Mobbing.


In a big company it is clear that you can avoid toxic people (sadly they do exist) unless you work very closely with them.  Your work environment can become unnecessarily unpleasant, which it should never be. Toxic workers engender conflict.  It is what they want, that is what makes them thrive, because they have a single personal goal and that is to get rid of you. They want you gone because you have in some banal way upset their personal status-quo in the office, especially if you have challenged them or doubt their value in any shape or form. They are generally less then interesting people that often feel that they are, or should be, superior to you. It is widely known that they are in the main control freaks, possibly in a dead-end job and are frustrated by their inability to dominate you as an individual.  This irks them to the point that it manifests itself in an innate, uncontrollable struggle within themselves to gain a dominance over you.  They rally others to their aid through many manipulative and subversive ways; both openly and in secret. The new word for this is ‘Mobbing’.

A lot of people who have never experienced or seen a mobbing situation really do not understand what this topic is all about, nor can they understand why this actually happens.  Nice people cannot comprehend why anyone would verbally attack, insult and menace co-workers, because for them it makes no sense. Well it does not make sense because it is the office and not a life-or-death situation, nor is it the 100,000 Euro Koh-Lanta challenge?  Mobbing situations are simply either personal dislikes (sometimes incompatible human chemistry) that cannot be overcome especially when it involves simple work related tasks and other banal aspects of daily working life.

Mobbing generally starts with the mobber’s accusation that you are ‘going behind their back’ in some work aspect, which could be a simple not CC’ing them in an email, to speaking to one of their subordinates without letting them know what the conversation is about.  The control freak in them is disturbed and if you do not cede then they start to up-the mobbing-anti – AND if you still fail to cede to their ways then it becomes an all out war for them.

The perpetrators of this work bullying habit often consider themselves perfect and are narcissistically blameless if confronted.  ‘IF’ is a big word in this case, because this is a subject that most people cannot easily confront.  When it is an adult to child situation i.e. school bullying … there is intervention and the situation can be sorted out.  NOT when it comes to adult to adult bullying.  This is where people have a hard time dealing with this kind of situation hence its meteoric rise in the work-place.

There are plenty of workplace bullying cases with a lot of explanation for the problem, but little in terms of solution as can be seen from the reams of data on the WWW covering such people-v-people situations.

Extract from Wikipedia  – British anti-bullying researchers Andrea Adams and Tim Field have used the expression “workplace bullying” instead of what Leymann called “mobbing” in a workplace context. They identify mobbing as a particular type of bullying that is not as apparent as most, defining it as “an emotional assault. It begins when an individual becomes the target of disrespectful and harmful behavior. Through innuendo, rumors, and public discrediting, a hostile environment is created in which one individual gathers others to willingly, or unwillingly, participate in continuous malevolent actions to force a person out of the workplace.”[11]

Adams and Field believe that mobbing is typically found in work environments that have poorly organised production or working methods and incapable or inattentive management and that mobbing victims are usually “exceptional individuals who demonstrated intelligence, competence, creativity, integrity, accomplishment and dedication”.

 

 

So with that in mind there is really only two ways to deal with it.  One is to ignore it as best as possible – As they often say in life – “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” No matter how hard it is you must remember that the person doing the mobbing would not do this if they were really a nice person, deep down inside.  They are actually troubled individuals who are psychologically fragile and it is not YOU that has the problem.  In fact you must learn to rise above them and pity them for they are ill.

The other way of dealing with this is of course a much more sweet and satisfying method, but condemned by many.  This is the age old cure for bullying; a fast hard smack in the mouth or several … BUT BEWARE … The workplace bully actually wants that to happen because the result is that YOU will be seen as the guilty party and YOU will be asked to leave the company. THEY, the mobber, will have then gloriously achieved what they so badly wanted in the first place.  Even if it means taking a beating to get it, they will cherish having pushed you over the edge. So if you do revert to this second method just don’t do it in public 😉

It is a delicate subject that cannot be dealt with easily and management does not want to tackle this kind of problem.  Sadly the workplace bully is smart enough to know this and vile enough to continue their nefarious, stupid and reprehensible tactics.

 

Why Many Medium Sized Middleware Software Companies Fail


snakes-laddersHow difficult is the business of Digital STB/iTV middleware?  How many attempts have there been to create a long-term sustainable business in this field, only for it to fail?  Middleware is expensive, requires huge engineering resources, long implementation cycles, onerous testing and in-field evaluation.  This makes middleware a difficult sell into the market because apart from any technical requirements there are many other players in the value chain that need to align beforefore there is any deployment and ultimately a middleware success.

Whilst this is the case, since TV went Digital,  it has not stopped companies trying to make big business in this market segment.   Since the 90’s many companies reached a certain maturity; their Middleware tenacity paid dividends and they seemed to be on the crest of a wave – then Kaboom!  It was all over.   This has been due to, in the main,  a technology or market requirement change.  In fact the Television Middleware market has seen a lot of these changes over the years with a plethora of new technologies appearing every few  years.   Embedded technologies such as MHEG5, PowerTV, Liberate, MicrosoftTV, OpenTV, Mediahighway, MHP, OCAP, ACAP, GINGA, EBIF, On-RAMP, Tivo, Moxi, GEM, HbbTV, Flash, HTML5 and others have all been put through their paces, struggled and have either failed or have been ousted by another.  The Broadcast/Operator Markets get bored with middleware after a few years.   Naturally new software and services evolve, new companies emerge in the form of young, hungry and agile businesses that are able to distract those middleware customers.  The latest is SECOND SCREEN/COMPANION SCREEN and the CLOUD interactivity which is a cheaper ‘non-embedded’ solution much more favourable in terms of CAPEX & OPEX considering many Broadcasters and Operators already have On-Line services as part of their business today.  However, once again alignment of many players is going to be the key to its success.

For those Middleware Companies who have not invested and merely followed the trends see their failure to innovate shrink back their business opportunities quickly.  They fall behind by selling their Slideware.  The answer is really quite simple and that is to have an innovation team in place, but this rarely happens if there is weak management in place.   A significant disruptive issue is that the cost level of new-software royalties demanded by new players is radically changed downward and the middleware business teams start to feel the pressure.   As the Business Development manager presents this market issue to a bemused Senior Management team he is told that He and Sales must sell what they have and stop complaining about the company portfolio!  The deals actually slow down then the actual customers you have play with this market phenomena working you harder for less money.  It is brutal!  I have lived it twice now!  The following is a list of things that happen when weak management fails to innovate…

  • Management starts to bury its head in the sand, blaming the workers on the coal-face for lack of sales
  • You are forced to  focus on short-term results which drives out all ideas that take longer to mature.
  • Changing a new technology direction evokes fear of cannibalisation of current business and this fundamentally prevents investment in new areas.
  • Most of your resources are devoted to ‘day-to-day’ business so that few if none exist for innovative prospects.
  • Innovation becomes someone else’s job and not part of everyone’s responsibility.
  • Ideas are often quashed as outlandish and there is a retrenching by the old guard of the company.
  • An efficiency focus eliminates free time for any fresh thinking.
  • There is an avoidance of responsibility and therefore no process to nurture the development of new ideas.
  • We look internally as we panic rather than starting with the market changes and customers’ needs and problems
  • Try to sell people technology that you have, which is not what the customer wants so they go to your competitor.
  • All incentives are geared towards maximizing the present business and reducing risk although it is not possible.
  • Senior managers immediately look for the flaws in new ideas rather than teasing out their potential
  • Budgets are squeezed, marketing is reduced, cost cutting is the answer.
  • You start to sell what the customers want to hear; it become Slideware selling.
  • You can excite the market but cannot deliver the technology in the time-frame required.
  • Competitors overtake you, squeezing you out of new deals.
  • When you do finally have the technology it is too late as the market has already chosen.
  • The managers that speak up and highlight the inneficiencies are quashed and replaced with yes-men.
  • The company struggles and the inevitable happens.