This is a political rant – for about 10 seconds – then it’s going to become a workplace rant.
I watched pieces of the GOP and the DNC conventions, and one word came to mind – #bullies.
If you want airtime in the political process, you have to be at the extreme. Extreme democrats are called socialists by the GOP. Super-Conservative republicans are called fundamentalists by the DNC. Are those tags right? Maybe. The bigger point is that if you want the microphone these days, you have to live on the extremes of either party.
Look around your company. If you’re not a super-engaged moderate as a leader, the same type of extremists are stealing all the oxygen at your company. Here’s 5 types of extremists are currently bullying the rest of the team at your company:
1. Ultra-Assertives – These are for the most part good folks, but embedded in their DNA is the ability to confront to a much higher degree than the normal human. That means they’re always on the offensive in meetings, often times at the expense of participation by those lower on the assertiveness scale.
2. Shock and Awe – Covert in nature, the shock and awe pro waits for the big moment, then drops the bomb on you. These folks aren’t as high on the assertiveness scale, but the passive-aggressive side is there to the extent that they’ll stick it to you at the last moment – with rationalization as to why. The rationalization they don’t have is why they didn’t get you in the loop sooner.
3. Drama Queen/King – High sensitivity folks always over-react to feedback when compared to their normal sensitivity range peers. It takes time to clean up.
4. People Persons – High people individuals love to be around people and get their batteries charged from walking the floor. They’ll tell you that’s good for business. The problem is that studies show that they often talk more than they listen, which causes all kinds of resentment on your team.
5. Teflon Teds – These are your low sensitivity types. The good news is that you can give them hard feedback and they’ll feel the sting for about 30 seconds and then start trying to find the merit in what you said. The bad news is that the same low sensitivity means they missed the class on empathy towards others, and they’ll be so direct on complex things with the rest of the team that they become an oxygen suck.
The political scene is filled with far left and hard right, and these days you have to be one or the other to get the microphone. Name your favorite political moderate.
You can’t. Not because they’re not there, but because they’re increasing coming under attack from the extremes of their party to toe the extremist line. Doesn’t matter if they’re a democrat or a republican – the moderates are increasingly afraid to push a moderate view because they’ll be marginalized.
The workplace (and any team in your workplace) can easily be impacted by the extremists I’ve listed above. If you’re reading this, odds are you’ve got some responsibility for people management at your company. That means you get paid to facilitate and moderate – to find the cleanest path to biz results.
The big question you should ask yourself is this – “Am I refusing to deal with the impact of forms of extremism in my company?” “Do I see teams getting hijacked by behavioral extremism?”
That’s you sparky. You’re a moderate as a people manager regardless of your political views. Go kick some extremist s#$ and get more people on the bus and in the tent.
Pass the hat, the sermon is over.
Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.