ROI and Your Professional Development Funds: Addressing Office Intimidators and Conflict Avoiders

Posted by Dr. Holly Latty-Mann on

Reflecting upon a full generation of leadership development workshop participants, the two most common 360° feedback comments tend to target the following types of employees:

1) Intimidating, and 2) Dysfunctional pleasing. What compounds this phenomenon and negatively influences the company culture is the fact that these two types often times work together. Here are the repercussions of this unfortunate but common relationship between the Intimidator and the Pleaser:

1) The Intimidator overloads the Pleaser with demands, knowing the latter is not likely to say “no”

2) The Pleaser builds up unexpressed resentment and spends company time complaining to peers

3) The Pleaser is sometimes unsure what the Intimidator is requesting but is too afraid to ask for fear of displeasing the Intimidator

4) The Pleaser then asks others instead of the Intimidator and follows the advice of those who actually aren’t sure themselves

5) The End product: Trust is compromised. The job is delayed. It is also lacking in the quality had the Pleaser asked the Intimidator directly to explain what had not been clearly understood earlier. Company time is wasted when the Pleaser runs around complaining and/or seeking clarification of the demands from others rather than the Intimidator. When the Intimidator is not pleased and expresses his or her displeasure at the delayed, lower-quality product, the Pleaser is more convinced than ever to avoid the Intimidator at all costs. The phenomenon persists, only at a more lethal level. Company time, productivity, money, and morale are all compromised.

Solution? Straightforward communication learned through an intensive, immersive leadership development program that focuses on self-awareness (and thus emotional intelligence). Expect these turnaround results:

1) The Intimidator knows to check in with the Pleaser to see if the request can be handled within the context of current work load

2) The Pleaser does not waste time expressing his or her resentment to nearby employees (the wasted time would have been for all parties involved here)

3) The Pleaser confidently shares what is understood and not understood regarding the request and will ask for clarification where needed

4) The Pleaser now has no need to ask others what might the Intimidator’s request entail, once again freeing up that otherwise wasted time

5) The End product: Trust is nurtured within that relationship. The job is finished by deadline, desired quality assurance is attained, company time is saved when there is no more complaining and seeking of advice from those who are not as well versed as the Intimidator. The relationship between the Intimidator and Pleaser becomes balanced, saving company time and money. Company morale and therefore culture is enhanced. This translates into greater productivity and revenue.

Leadership development programs that focus on self-awareness and emotional intelligence are designed to nip this relationship phenomenon in the bud. When inquiring for this kind of support, make sure the leadership development programs are small so that the participants receive individual attention. Be bold and ask if the training program is tuition-guaranteed. Notice if the program testimonials bear names, titles, and enterprises in addition to the actual takeaways.  Ask to speak with former graduates as well as a program facilitator. Only then can you expect to stretch your training dollars and achieve the ROI you deserve from that professional development investment.