bullying at work

I thought we were past bullying when we got out of high school. It seems it isn’t so. The more I talk to people the more I am appalled at the amount of bullying in the work place but also in business interactions.

Certainly, most of us have worked for a company where someone used undue influence and bad behavior to get their way.  You know the one.  The one who emails you at 4 am with a long to do list. The one who micro-manages everything you do. The one who loves their power over others with a “my way or the high way” attitude.  This person makes you cringe every time an email comes in, the phone rings or you see them coming down the hall (that is the topic of a whole other conversation!).

What happens if it happens to be a client who is throwing a fit about other clients you might have? The conversation might look a little like this: “I see you are doing some work for Suzie Q/Bob Q. Are you sure you want to do that? I don’t know if I can do business with you if you are also working with them. Let me know when you cancel your arrangement with them”.  This is just one scenario that could play out.

On the surface it may sound like this client is protecting their business.  When you dig a little deeper, the roots are in a personal conflict between the two business owners with the consultant in the middle. This is where it is important to have outlined expectations, scope of work and boundaries. Yes. I said it. Boundaries.  In business, I hate to say it, but in business,  friendship and business relationships are very hard to navigate. Boundaries are essential to survive.

It is important to have clear expectations, clear boundaries and clear deliverables. This will give you the best chance of navigating the maze and having a positive outcome.