Friday, 2 November 2012

Newsletter Issue 226, November 2012

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 226, November 2012
Hi guys,
If someone in your organisation has levelled a charge of bullying, don't ignore it! Check out Don't Ignore Bullying! below.
How often do we forget to ask ourselves how others feel? If you feel disconnected, try saying I Feel That You Feel...
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Don't Ignore Bullying!

When bullying is reported organisations need to take it seriously and do something about it. Why? Employers have a duty of care toward their employees, and owe them a safe workplace.

If you read Newsletter 218, you would remember that The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) says bullying is "something that someone repeatedly does or says to gain power and dominance over another, including any action or implied action, such as threats, intended to cause fear and distress" (The Independent, 2006, as cited by Allwright, 2011).

Indicators of bullying include absenteeism, stress leave, increased staff turnover (or just higher than industry norms), increased personal grievances taken, increasing temporary staff costs, productivity drops, increased break times, increase in mistakes, increase in accident rate, critical deadlines being missed, and loss of institutional knowledge (Allwright, 2011; Lee, 2012; O'Driscoll et al, 2011). If some of these HR markers are changing, or particularly, if they are changing in one department, start looking for bullying. See smoke - think fire; but investigate respectfully.

The trick is to not be accusatory, but to get people talking about the issues, and bring things into the open. Everyone needs to feel safe enough to have a voice, and feel safe enough to listen to things that will be painful, challenging and will change them.

HR Daily in Australia posted an article recently on bullying at The excellent feedback posted by Bernard Althofer on this article suggests that bullying happens where:

  • Poor people management, practices and skills exist
  • There is inappropriate management style or lack of supervision
  • Overwork happens
  • Role ambiguity occurs
  • Poor consultation processes occur
  • There are inconsistent work flows and reporting procedures
  • The level and nature of training is inadequate
  • There are unreasonable performance expectations

As you will no doubt remember from Newsletter 218, New Zealand still retains a largely authoritarian management approach; an entirely suitable culture medium to grow bullying within. In order for us to reduce bullying in New Zealand, we need to deal with the first point on Bernard Althofer's list. Correction there will provide a cascade that will eliminate many of the other issues.

Late last year, Michael O'Driscoll, Helena Cooper-Thomas, Tim Bentley, Bevan Catley, Dianne Gardner and Linda Trenberth released their research on bullying in the New Zealand workplace, entitled "Workplace bullying in New Zealand: A survey of employee perceptions and attitudes". They report nearly 20% of the 1700 kiwis surveyed were bullied at work (at the top end of the 5 to 20% world-wide range); but also that employees thought the following effective tactics for dealing with bullying:

  • Encouraging open communication
  • Encouraging appropriate interactions
  • Developing an anti-bullying policy
  • Developing a complaints procedure
  • Resolving conflicts quickly and fairly

However, having anti-bullying policy is not about catching bullies; it’s about fostering a employee climate of dignity and respect throughout the organisation. It should also foster keeping an eye on your HR markers so you can spot bullying behaviours early and provide mechanisms for correcting the perpetrators before they overly affect the staff around them.

So, the take-away is: check you are treating others with dignity and respect, ensure you are listening, and seek fair outcomes. Then mentor others so they can ensure that they do too.


Allwright, Michelle (2011). Workplace Bullying: Structures and Human Resource Management Issues. NZ: NZABE Conference Proceedings.

Lee, Laura (November 2012). Workplace bullying - one strike and you're out? Australia: HR Daily. Retrieved 21 November 2012 from

O'Driscoll, Michael P.; Cooper-Thomas, Helena D.; Bentley, Tim; Catley, Bevan E.; Gardner, Dianne H, & Trenberth, Linda (2011). Workplace bullying in New Zealand: A survey of employee perceptions and attitudes. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, December 2011, Volume 49, Issue 4 (pp. 390-408). You can access O'Driscoll et al's article from Wiley Online's database if you have an account, or from EEO Trust if you are a member (go to to order).

I Feel That You Feel...

How powerful is it, to connect with others, and make them feel that you get what they are feeling?

It's huge, that connection, isn't it. So why is it that so often we don't stop to think what others are thinking and feeling, and put ourselves in their shoes for a minute?

With our families, our colleagues and our friends, we can so easily become complacent, and think we know the other person, and what they are thinking and feeling. We can forget to be empathetic, and forget to try to feel what they are feeling.

However, I recently read an excellent article by Mark Goulston (2012) on the AMA website, entitled "Make the Other Person Feel 'Felt' ", which reminded me that this is something that we can all let slip. What is even better is that Mark had an excellent checklist, which I have quoted here, that we can use to work through really listening to what the other person is saying:

  1. Attach an emotion to what you think the other person is feeling, such as frustrated, angry, or afraid.
  2. Say, “I’m trying to get a sense of what you’re feeling and I think it’s ————— ” and fill in an emotion. “Is that correct? If it’s not, then what are you feeling?” Wait for the person to agree or correct you.
  3. Then say, “How frustrated (angry, upset, etc.) are you?” Give the person time to respond. Be prepared, at least initially, for a torrent of emotions, especially if the person you’re talking with is holding years of pent-up frustration, anger, or fear inside. This is not the time to fight back, or air your own grievances.
  4. Next, say, “And the reason you’re so frustrated (angry, upset, etc.) is because...?” Again, let the person vent.
  5. Then say, “Tell me—what needs to happen for that feeling to feel better?”
  6. Next, say, “What part can I play in making that happen? What part can you play in making that happen?”

Mark has outlined a simple, but very powerful process.

However, being honest, we all know in practice that this is a very hard thing to do in the heat of the moment. So our best approach is to try to build this as a habit, and clock up our ten thousand hours (Gladwell, ) to gain expertise.

Remember: practice + practice + practice = habit


  • Gladwell, Malcolm (2008). Outliers: The story of success. USA: Little, Brown and Company
  • Goulston, Mark (2012). Make the Other Person Feel “Felt”. Posting Date: November 06, 2012. USA: American Management Association. Retrieved 17 November 2012 from

Colour-code your Outlook Appointments

TechRepublic published a great tip on colour-coding in Outlook earlier this month.

Depending on your learning style, you may find using colour helps shortcut your decision-making, recognition and memory. If so, try colour coding your appointments, then all you will need is a quick glance to understand what you have on today.

While you can manually colour code appointments when you create them in Outlook 2003 (Right click on the appointment in calendar view, select Label and chose your colour), Outlook 2007 onwards lets you use a conditional format to automatically colour certain categories of appointments in a particular colour.

To do this, you need to:

  • Choose a keyword (a 'condition'). TechRepublic used 'CAMG'
  • In the Calendar window, click the View tab | Current View group | View Settings button | in 2010 click Conditional Formatting (in 2007, choose Automatic Formatting from the Edit menu)
  • Click Add to create a new rule
  • Enter a name for the rule (TechRepublic used "Set Color Personal")
  • Choose a colour (TechRepublic choose blue)
  • Click Condition (at the bottom-left of the dialogue box)
  • On the Appointments and Meetings tab, in the "Search For The Words" field, enter, eg 'CAMG'. Leave the default, "In Subject Field Only" for now.
  • Click OK three times to return to the Calendar window.
  • Now set your appointments and test them to ensure they work!

Later, when you apply this technique to other appointments, click the Advanced tab on the Appointments and Meetings tab and try a few things. You can do quite a lot with this, setting multiple and quite complex conditions.

Reference: TechRepublic (November 2012). Track your time better by automatically color coding your Outlook appointments. USA: Author. Retrieved 7 November 2012 from

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:

  • BYOD, Bring Your Own Device. This term is usually used around setting an organisational policy (ie, a BYOD policy) for the level of support that the IT department will supply employees for employee-owned PCs, smartphones and tablets.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys

Over the next few newsletters, we are going to look at all you can do with panes. This time we look at Publisher:

  • Publisher "Bring to front or move between the Navigation pane and the Help pane" F6
  • Publisher "Hide or show the Navigation pane in Help" Alt & O, Then T
  • Publisher "Move between the wizard pane and the publication" Ctrl & F9
  • Publisher "Move between the wizard pane and the publication" Ctrl & F9
  • Publisher "Move down within a page or scroll down in the Help pane" Page Down
  • Publisher "Move up within a page or Scroll up in the Help pane" Page Up
  • Publisher "Show the Office Assistant or If the Office Assistant is turned off, show the Help pane" F1

Hot Linx

Leadership Management Australia's latest survey is out, summarising Australian and Kiwi leader, manager and employee views on building a sustainable workforce. Get your copy at

Read about a clever, clever use of science to identify where milk protein originates - and, therefore, whether its source is true to label - at

An interesting couple of articles about open access to research, instead if us having to pay to get articles. Read what the Guardian has to say at and

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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