Negotiate Your Career Growth

Navigating Toxic Workplaces: Conversation on Workplace Bullying with Caroline Stokes, CEC and Ludmila Praslova, PhD

March 19, 2024 Jamie Lee, Caroline Stokes, Ludmila Praslova Episode 57
Negotiate Your Career Growth
Navigating Toxic Workplaces: Conversation on Workplace Bullying with Caroline Stokes, CEC and Ludmila Praslova, PhD
Show Notes Transcript

Navigating toxic workplaces is something I coach on every week in my practice. Gaining the skills and insights to deal with bullying and unhealthy work cultures is essential for you to negotiate the uneven and sometimes rough terrain of your career journey.

In this episode, I'm interviewing two experts featured in the Harvard Business Review Guide to Navigating the Toxic Workplace. 

Organizational psychologist Ludmila Praslaova and executive coach Caroline Stokes discuss the root causes of bullying behavior and offer strategies for both organizations and individuals to address toxic work cultures. 

They provide insights from decades of research and coaching experience on improving communication, building allies, and advocating for change. 

What you'll learn: 

  • Workplace bullying is a common problem that negatively impacts career growth and mental health 
  • Bullying often stems from insecurity and a lack of understanding between colleagues (across) or from either a direct report (up) or supervisor (down)
  • Marginalized groups are more vulnerable to bullying due to power dynamics
  • Why it's important to trust your intuition and how to do it if something feels wrong at work
  • Why, in addition to individual self-care, organizations need to take responsibility for creating healthy cultures 
  • How gender plays a role in workplace bullying, with men more likely to bully both men and women
  • How to apply the "vote for yourself and vote with your feet" principle 
  • The why of building allies and documenting incidents to address bullying

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Jamie Lee  0:00  
Today we have a very special conversation for negotiate your career growth podcast listeners. We have with us two powerhouse women. We have Ludmilla N has Loba, PhD, and Ludmilla is the author of the Canary code, a guide to neurodiversity dignity and intersexual belonging at work. Please go and preorder this book. It's coming out in April. She's also a professor of graduate industrial organizational psychology. I just fumble that word. She is a professor of graduate industrial organizational psychology at Vanguard University of Southern California. But Mila is also a member of the thinker's 50 Class of 2024, which is a big deal in the world of management consulting experts with this is a global group of management thinkers most likely to make an impact on the world. And we also have Caroline Stokes, she is an executive coach for startups, she coaches on startup cultures, as well as fortune 500 leaders, which is also the author of elephants before unicorns, emotionally intelligent strategies to save your company. I mean, these are already two fabulous books that we should all read. But wait, there's more. I have Ludmilla and Caroline with us today, because their article that they co authored, along with Ron Croce, has just been published in the HBr, Harvard Business Review Guide to navigating the toxic workplace. And I think navigating the toxic workplace is something that I coach on every week. It's something that is so crucial and essential in order for you to be able to negotiate your career growth. And so without further ado, I'd love to, you know, ask you, Caroline. If as an executive coach for startups and fortune 500 companies, what was the connection? What was the? What was the thing that really drew you to this topic about how to address toxic workplaces? We're going to talk very specifically about workplace bullying. And I'm curious what really drew you to this topic as an executive coach?

Caroline Stokes  2:35  
Well, first of all, thank you, Jamie, for inviting myself and Lunella. To this to your podcast, it's very much appreciated. So what drew me to this topic is that I think it was my my very first job working in a store, but when you're at college, but my very first job where I could see different human behaviors, and as an highly observant people, like anybody that moves into the coaching realm, I found it quite fascinating how those dynamics rolled out how things got done, what kind of environments would be created that to, to not necessarily create the most optimum outcomes will be power playing, happening with most of the, with most of the departments, and it was extremely troubling. So roll forward 25. So actually, 30 years 20 years later, I became an executive certified executive coach. And I've spent the past 10 years not only writing a book offense for unicorns, where I open up my very first chapter talking about how there has to be a better way for departments, within organizations to be able to find commonality, learn how to collaborate, so they can innovate. And the more we deep dive as human beings, I'm in my 50s, and I'm still deep diving as to why and how people really don't know how to get on to create the most optimal environments. And what I found was that, to be able to address it, it requires everybody in organizations and I mean, everyone to be able to do the deep work, whether it's with a coach or whether or not it's with a therapist, to be able to understand exactly what narratives people have in their, in their mind what they move in towards when they're experiencing conflict. And maybe when they're not being seen and heard and understood. And I find that with most of those individuals, that level of insecurity breeds the toxic kind of playground that we're here to talk about today.

Jamie Lee  4:50  
I think that's so spot on. At the end of the day, that insecurity is what breeds the toxicity as well as the bullying and so, you know, with that said Miller, I'd love to hear from you. As an organizational psychologist, you know, what perspective? Or also I'll just ask the same question, what what drew you to this topic of workplace bullying?

Ludmila Praslova  5:18  
Again, I had a very long career as well for over 30 years. And I think like most people, unfortunately, I did observe it. And it's something that I kind of came back cyclically in my research. So I would look at something positive, like organizational citizenship behaviors, and I would go to bullying, and then I would look at something positive like inclusion. And then I would go to bullying because, really, my specialty is diversity and inclusion in the workplace. And unfortunately, it doesn't mean that it's always people who are from marginalized groups that become targets. But unfortunately, there is a power dynamic that is exacerbated when it comes to people from various groups that in specific cultural context, and I have seen this all over the world, but whenever a group has less social power within specific social context, this group also is more likely to experience bullying. So to me, it's kind of a relationship between bullying in general, but also bullying in the context of diversity.

Jamie Lee  6:50  
Thank you for sharing that, because that brings me to that reminds me of when I was the only woman at the leadership table, I also worked at tech startups, but even before then, when I was the only woman at a hedge fund, trading desk, and I don't know if I was really bullied, but I felt what's the outed or outcast, as the only woman as the only, you know, Asian woman, and women in particular, we experienced in general, right, we tend to experience less relational power in the workplace. And having said that, I'm just curious, how do you know when you're being bullied, as opposed to just experiencing someone's lack of management skills, because I'm just thinking about the time when I was reporting to this, you know, manager who would cut me off at every meeting, who always quick with criticisms, and it never got any sort of praise or recognition, but, and I also don't know if that was bullying, or just this person not being a great manager. And I'm wondering if either one of you, yeah,

Ludmila Praslova  8:11  
I'll give it a shot. But I want to hear Caroline's perspective and your perspective. But sometimes it is difficult. And we have so many personal and cultural lens that also could normalize behavior or to us, that is not acceptable. So let's say if we grew up in the environment, where verbal aggression was the way of life or physical aggression or any put downs, or ostracism, if any of that was a typical way of life, you might have a different degree of tolerance or if in our first workplace, we just kind of socialized Yeah, those people yell and that is what it is. We might think that something is wrong, but it There can also be you know, this frog in a hot water kind of dynamic where we start thinking, oh, yeah, this is this is usual this is always happens. But I also think that as humans, we do have this built in mechanism, that sometimes we can't verbalize that there's just a gut feeling that something is wrong. And obviously we should always check and we'll see okay, so do other people perceive it this way and so forth. But don't we shouldn't also gaslight ourselves, if we have this inner feeling we should at the very least investigate very seriously where this is coming from because we do have those days the danger detectors within our brains that are very fast acting and we can't URL always verbalize. What they those aspects of ourselves are telling us, but that's because they're very fast acting. And they're way faster than that. processes that rely on wards. So sometimes we know things in our gut. And it's not some kind of, you know, Moody was saying that should be dismissed. Sometimes it's really our brain telling us to pay attention to something.

Caroline Stokes  10:30  
Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. I would add to that, to riffing on what Liudmyla was saying about there being a feeling of gut feeling. I know what the feeling is, it's dread. When you feel dread, to go and be with that person. It's because you know, there's just big complicated, can't work out what swirling activities are happening, what's going to come up next, or what the pattern you're going to be facing, or what the typical pattern is, and you're trying to work out how to actually try and solve it. Or you may get to a point where it's like, Okay, I just can't do this anymore. And you because you just put so much energy into it, you now on to the kind of lean back. And the problem with that is that once you kind of resigned, it's very, very hard to actually get that energy back. And then you eventually move into burnout, which I'm sure you've Milla could provide more psychological Intel and perspective on, but dread is and I've experienced it before, I remember I was living in Ireland and I had a boss in Dublin, he was a screamer, you could hear him all day long screaming at people shouting at people telling people that they were an idiot, they're their clients, the customers were idiots, everybody was an idiot. And I felt it in the morning, I would have to go to work. And I felt sick, I actually felt sick, I dreaded going in to the point where I had to resign, even went to HR about it. And they weren't able to do anything because as far as they were concerned, he was performing. From a you know, from from a business perspective. So you know, when you can see the writing on the wall, that that type of behavior is tolerated, and it's being recognized and rewarded. It's you. And you can see that this is the system if you're not going to be able to be the person that is going to be able to change it.

Jamie Lee  12:29  
Thank you so much for saying that. Because I was thinking about your article, how bullying manifests at work and how to stop it. And I did read it, but I was thinking, Oh, they're gonna give us like a scientific definition. This is bullying, and this is a but at the end of the day, what you're both saying from the organizational level, as well as the executive coach, you know, perspective is that at the end of the day, you want to be able to trust your gut, right, because your unconscious level, your unconscious mind, your subconscious mind can almost let you know at a physical level when it just isn't right. And it's, you know, it's not ethical, it's not right for you. And you can feel that. Yes, Caroline,

Caroline Stokes  13:07  
I have one more story, which is not related to a corporate environment. My son, he's now 21, he was working in a Canadian, I live in Vancouver, and he was working for a Canadian store, I won't name the store. And his boss was maybe 20 or 30 years older than him. And he, my son is Agenzia. And he was finding my son was finding that some of the comments he made was, was quite insulting, and bullying, but really, it was just context driven. So I was listening to what my son was what this person was saying to my son, and I said, You know what, it's like he's talking to another Gen X or, or a boomer, so he doesn't realize the sensitivities here. So you're seeing it as bullying, you're seeing you're incredibly uncomfortable with this, and it's driving you nuts, and you have full of anxiety, and you're not able to get yourself up to get into work. So, you know, there's just so many, there's so much context to every single scenario that maybe, you know, I felt he was being bullied, because he wasn't able to be. He wasn't able to speak and he wasn't trained to understand what the norms and the standards were. So it was a very complicated situation. But it is important for people to be able to and I'm going to talk about this at some stage in this interview, how people can go about trying to rectify this because there can be there's always two sides to every story.

Jamie Lee  14:34  
Thank you for sharing that because I was thinking I only recently realized that I'm a highly sensitive person, according to Dr. Elaine Aaron. And so, you know, I think back on my past experiences and recall feeling just so anxious and stressed and like you said sick to my stomach and I thought how much of that is that? Really me and my sensitivity and my perceptions, the filters that I, you know, through which I perceive things and how much that is actually bullying, because but at the end of the day, it is a label, isn't it? And Ludmilla, I'm wondering, do you have anything to add to that?

Ludmila Praslova  15:14  
Well, again, I would definitely classify myself as well, not just highly sensitive, but all kinds of neurodivergent person. And that is a such a fine line. Because I was always, I think, gaslit into thinking that, Oh, it's you, You're too sensitive, I've been told, I've been told you are too sensitive my entire life, and just kind of like still picking up with it, and nobody's getting offended those things, and, you know, just get over it. So there's just a fine line. And then I also found myself with institutions, like Caroline described, where someone felt like they were being bullied. And I'm like, those are, those are generational differences. And so that's, I think what kind of drew me to studying both individual differences and cultures, because any kind of perception that we have of social environment is through our individual lens. But then there is a reality in the science of social environment. And we can, in some ways, kind of objectively see, like, if this war group has a healthy climate that's productive, that's performing and sometimes people joke around, but it's not in a mean way. Or it could be that the worker organization, everybody is acting with the call, you know, super professional, and nobody ever says in your thing, and everything is squeaky clean if you look at their documents, but that's because everyone is living in fear. So there are just so many layers, and so many different things that could be happening. One, a work group can be fun and boisterous. And it's healthy. And another can be loud, a mean, and it's unhealthy. And another can be quiet and frozen in fear, and they don't see in your thing. But that's because you know that if you say anything, you're just dad.

Unknown Speaker  17:42  
Yeah, Caroline, go ahead.

Caroline Stokes  17:43  
Absolutely. Just riffing on on what Lou Miller was saying, when you feel yourself going into fight or defending or flight, you want to escape or you're freezing or you're phoning? Those are internal signals to go, Okay, there's something up here? Where are my values? Is this person not speaking the same language as me? What is it that's happening here? How do I need to navigate it. So whenever we move into a culture, whether or not it's an organization that we've always wanted to work for, or we're doing something that's just a survival job, we need to be able to navigate that because essentially, we need to earn money, we're not going to be able to make any huge changes. When we are an employee, or we're part of over a client, and we're having to not a client, we're a supplier, and we're providing the client with a service. So we are the ones that have to adapt, but to understand where we're at, so we're not making ourselves crazy, it's really important to understand, you know, is this a bullying environment? And is it toxic? Is it damaging these toxic environments is something that is damaging your mental health and your physical health, to the point where, you know, I've known one or two people actually commit suicide. And that's, you know, the absolute best, that's the worst case scenario, or they're just, you know, if they're depressed and they're unable to work for a couple of years, or they develop such significant sicknesses that they're unable to work for a couple of years and or that it damages the value of life, that's when it's gone too far. So before it gets to that point, we don't want people to get to that point. We want to be able to have those check ins with ourselves in which is what what is the reality? What can I do about it? And what can we do about it is requires potentially working with a coach working with a therapist to and to start experimenting with ways to be able to get the result. So let's say that you've got a boss that gets gaslighting you you're and you're thinking is this person gaslighting, me journal. One of the things that's really important is that once you are able to journal it, put some dates, assess it, test it like a be tested if you're a data or digital person, or an analytical person. Take It's good to see, you know whether or not that is actually a reality or whether or not maybe don't, don't be offended with this Luke Miller, maybe maybe you are oversensitive. Maybe you've experienced rejection all of your life, maybe you need to just be bold and think about a different way of explaining it. But let's say it is a true true scenario, or where you are being gaslighted by by essentially a narcissistic person, a highly narcissistic person. Number one, get out. Number two, cover your tracks really, really well. To ensure that you're, you're able to regain that, that sanity that you're craving for. So you can work in an environment that's a little bit more compatible. If for example, one thing that we talk about in the article with Harvard Business Review this in the book is upward bullying, and that Liudmyla is going to talk about this in a second if you don't mind lamella Liudmyla. But what's what's fascinating about that, is that you just can't imagine that somebody, you know, that's either your peer or your employee is actually making your life more difficult when you kind of have an awful one, one for all kinds of it mindset.

Jamie Lee  21:10  
Yeah, please tell us tell us more about that, or anything else that you would add.

Ludmila Praslova  21:16  
I just wanted to before we move too much further into individual perceptions, I just wanted to talk from the perspective of organizational psychology, because we are talking about individuals and how we protect ourselves. And it's extremely important for us to be self aware. And for us to be able to get to know who we are and work as much as possible on developing mechanisms of coping with unhealthy environments. However, organizations can never be off the hook for creating healthy environments. And that's why I think both of us really love this surgeon general framework for supporting mental health in the workplace, because you can't just tell people to, you know, figure yourself out and have a therapist. And yeah, so some of us need to figure out ourselves, oh, that's, that's, that's a fact of life. But that does not mean that organizations can do whatever they want to humans. Because if you keep getting stuck into six situations, and then just kind of treating yourself, and then you go maybe to another workplace and another workplace, and they're all toxic. And unfortunately, that happens to many people, because there are so many toxic workplaces, I think there needs to be yet more attention to organizational level, because organizations need to have those indicators, just like they measure all kinds of other, you know, key performance indicators, psychological health, and well being, they need to measure those things, and then need to monitor those things in the need to be responsible for having culture that is healthy and appropriate. And for training leaders, and not putting people into the position of power, when you do a lot of their own work before they should be put into any kind of position of power.

Jamie Lee  23:36  
I love that I love that we have two, you know, perspectives at the same in the same conversation, because I think it's a both and right. It's like we absolutely do need to work on ourselves. I mean, I, I journal like religiously, for my own sanity. But also I think what Ludmilla is saying, you know, really strikes a chord because at the end of the day, the organization does have some responsibility. And so I'm curious with Mila, because we just acknowledged that. Yeah, there are a lot of toxic workplaces. I've worked at the work that some my clients have worked at them or they're still left though. And so what why do you think that systemic change, organizational change has been so slow? i Yeah, I'd love to hear your Millis thoughts and then I want to hear Caroline's thoughts for sure. Well, why is that been so slow? And then I want to hear more about you know, the other type of bullying and also ways we can rectify it. So yeah, tell me what you think about that.

Ludmila Praslova  24:44  
Well, systems in general, are designed for stability. Any cultural system has embedded mechanisms that preserve it still. That's what change in our unifications usually is quite the process, and then you change one thing and something unexpected happens, or the system falls back into where it was because it's actually a defining characteristic of systems. They are self protective. And they do tend to change slowly think about like big cultures and organizational culture. So that's one level of thinking about it, we do indoctrinate, every new generation was norms, whether it's in small groups is here's how we do things around here are larger groups cultural level, which is why cultures change, but they do change slowly. And otherwise, we wouldn't be able to function if cultural norms change every day. Unfortunately, there are norms that needed to be changed yesterday. And there is then the second factor, sometimes the our cultures and our societies are stratified. And certain things serve the interests of those with more power. And unfortunately, those with more power in organizations for a very long time, have this idea that competition, internal competition is the same thing, as you know, mistreating your co workers. And that internal competition translates into external competitiveness, which is an app which is absolute garbage. And in most organizations with internal backstabbing, and internal mistreatment is actually horrible for the bottom line and unhealthy organizations. But there is this highly ingrained misperception that like your people are, that's how they're keeping each other on their toes. And they, if they're tough on each other, they're going to be tough on the competition. And that is just a huge, huge misconception. And organizations just don't pay attention to it. And also, people in power, unfortunately, do tend to advance the power because they're less sensitive to this kind of dynamic and to, and it kind of personally feel comfortable with it. Not always, but there are multiple, multiple mechanisms. But the myth that bullying is just competition and competition is good, is one of the things that also perpetuates unhealthy norms.

Caroline Stokes  27:38  
Caroline, so I usually see culture surveys. And I also see satisfaction surveys, and every single organization I work with has an abundance of these surveys, challenges, they look at those surveys as a tick box exercise, and they say, oh, yeah, we were up percent, or we're down 5%. Okay, well, what are we going to do that? Oh, well, we'll put a foosball table in there, I'm being facetious, they'll do something, they'll there'll be a patch up, or they'll say, yeah, let's get some coaching in and, and, and change this. Now, human beings are really good at being able to also take that and tick those boxes, they'll show up to those events, they'll show up to, you know, all of these different things. But essentially, it goes back to what I was originally saying, people don't, won't go and actually do the work because it's really, really hard. And to do that work, when actually, it's been working quite effectively, they've been able to make their money, they haven't had to, you know, they haven't been fined in any way. Rarely are people for example, rarely do people lose their jobs over toxic behavior, you just have to look at what has happened from a government governmental perspective and various countries to see what kind of things they get away with to know that this is the this is the standard, you know, this is the norm unless usually, your female men will be able to get get away with that level of behavior for a significantly long time, because the system supports it. So back to what the Miller was saying, which is about the system, you know, this system, unless it is approached in a in a systemic way, and everybody agrees to it agrees to a vision of what it can be, and to and to break the status quo, you know, the the level of change is going to be very, very slow. But what I will say I will, I will put a positive aspect to it. So we're not all doom and gloom. There's different nominal change. Think about Peter St. Joe's book came out in 1990. Daniel Goleman book came out in 1995. We have made incredible changes to the way that that is operated, there is a more there's more openness to how we each operate, but there's just still so much that has to be done. And with technology, and with the advancements and geopolitics and the environment, everything's shifting at a breakneck speed speed, we're not adjusting fast enough to be able to handle these level of changes, which is how I believe a lot of this toxic behavior happens, because change is too much for people to handle.

Jamie Lee  30:23  
Thank you for that. So here's what I'm taking away change is too much for people to handle, there is an ingrained bias towards thinking about bullying behaviors as a way of staying competitive, which, you know, incentivize people who are in positions of power, which tend to be more men than women. And they tend to be rewarded, not punished, or fired for that kind of behavior. And, you know, this brings to mind something that I read in your article, I believe this was the article how bullying manifests at work and how to stop it. You gave like very specific data points, the bullies who are men, 67% women 50% Men who bully other men, not women. 42%. So if I'm understanding this correctly, more men bullied both men and women.

Ludmila Praslova  31:24  
Yes. And that's from the one that national data from the US and then sometimes there are some cultural differences. But in fact, yes, so more men in general are bullies. Man, bully, man, but also women, women, for the most part, bully other women. So in general, if you look at this, this creates a picture in which most people who are bullied by a very small margin, like you know, 49 versus 51%, are men, because more men bully and men are more likely to bully man. But in general, we do see women on women bully, not exactly not, not always, there are all kinds of exceptions, obviously. And men bully both men and women. So it's a very gendered dynamic. And again, you need to look by specific country as well, because there will be pretty significant differences just on the global scale, but that's what we can say what we know about the Western world. Thank you

Jamie Lee  32:59  
for that. And as a coach who coaches, women, women leaders, I have coached brilliant, high performing women who were literally bullied out of their positions. And the people who did it were men in positions of higher authority position, you know, titles, and they didn't get any sort of punishment for this kind of like gaslighting, falsifying performance reviews, or providing no some substantive data to back the claim that particular woman is underperforming or is acting out of line or, you know, the that she has behavior issues, when in fact, you know, her performance is stellar. But she, you know, she said something that was not that some that's something, what am I trying to say, that may not be considered in line with what the male boss wanted her to do? Right. And so in a way it was, it was interpreted as insubordination, and then she was pushed out of that role, this particular person that I'm thinking about, and so it totally sucks at so many levels. You know, it rankles, it rankles my feminist bones. It makes me so angry, I can just like feel the heat rising. Like it's just feel so unjust. And then I can't help but wonder, what can smart women do? How do we prevent something like this from is there something that because we're led to believe that we can, you know, exert some kind of control influence over our own destinies and so like, is there something that we can do I know that Mila made this really great point before we hit record? Like that's a million dollar question because how can you prevent How can you control other people, people are, you know, the ultimate uncontrollable right other people. And so, you know, let's let's just could we have a conversation? about, you know, Caroline already, you know touched on this really well, sometimes you just walk away, right? But can we have a conversation about like, what can smart women do? What can we do to raise our awareness around, you know, this type of bullying behavior? And what are like specific action steps that we can take to, to level the playing field, so to speak, I know, you know, living the law made a really great point about how the structural bias exists, because there are stratified levels of power. But yeah, let me pause right there. What What are your thoughts about that?

Ludmila Praslova  35:40  
And again, this is a million dollar question because it happens all the time. And we have multiple levels of dynamics here, including power, so people who are in power, abuse it, that's the situation when they would falsify performance records, because you are a woman, because you're an immigrant because of whatever. So whenever people have more power over you, they're more likely to get all right. And when you have fewer resources, and you think they're going to blacklist me, and then we'll never get another job, that again, just exacerbates those power dynamics. And, and people who are on lower power route rungs also have fewer resources. We don't necessarily, you know, have Ray travelers to fall back on or, you know, other kinds of resources that people are very often constrained in what they can do, as individuals and psyching yourself up in a toxic situation can only to get yours before I can get you to my bed until you find another job, which sometimes is a healthy thing to do. And there are people who have been trying to sue but I use legislation specifically is not very supportive. There are some other countries where the bullying legislation is a little bit stronger, some people have a little bit more recourse and there are differences by this by the state with within the US but not everyone would go to over that kind of action. And so there are people who are pushing for stronger legislation actually, like people like David do mod I just really, really appreciate their work, pushing for stronger, and a bullying legislation. But on the individual level, but not fully individual level, what you often really need is just one ally. Because even if you have just one ally, who is able to do just going to proceed, perspective, check and confirm what you are saying. But your performance data or falsify that can make all the difference. But very often organizations do pull this solid targeted person in a situation where there are repercussions for even supporting that person, not only for just being that person, but in most situations, if you can create even a small group, even a minority group that will say that certain things are wrong. And we need to change our social norms, that can actually be another source of power. So between changing yourself and like gaslighting yourself into not seeing what's happening, or running and running, and writing and writing, or fighting and trying to change the world and change the national legislation. The kind of the middle ground is to change the social environment within your immediate place by finding other people who also find what is happening extremely distasteful. And even if it's just one or two people in the wardrobe that can actually change the dynamics of how much garbage people in power think they can get away with and might actually make them think twice before falsifying the performance records.

Jamie Lee  39:31  
Thank you for sharing that it would you mind repeating the name of the person? You said there was somebody David Hamada. And this person is working on legislation. He

Ludmila Praslova  39:42  
said he has been one of the most prominent people who has been trying for a very long time to support stronger anti bullying legislation in the States. That's

Jamie Lee  39:57  
excellent. That's really excellent. And as you were saying that it was Looking back on my experience at that hedge fund, and I did not have a single friend. And recently I read that there is research that shows if you have a female work friend, help you make you make more money, because there is the network effect of oh, you know, this is this is, you know, what's reasonable in this role position. So, not only help you with dealing with a bullying situation, it could also help you make more money in your career. So I'm curious, Caroline, um, do you have any additional thoughts? What would you add to that?

Caroline Stokes  40:36  
What I've added two things. So first of all, when you're starting a new company, you have no idea what the landscape looks like, and you find out on day five, day 10, day 12, even that, oh, you're seeing some really weird stuff happening here. You can avoid all of that entirely by starting up a 100 day program with your, with your boss, and your peers, to be able to understand what the norms are. So how that works is that you're there in the first week, you've gotten the you've gotten all of the data that you could possibly need, you know, you know what your role is, and this could be anything from, you know, you've just started working in a store through to you working in an organization, or you're working for an agency, and you've got an idea of what the what the lay of the land is. And Day Four is that you asked to have a meeting or a quick catch up, you have a quick coffee, and you ask her a one to one, or it could just be a catch up, maybe a one to one sounds too formal for some organizations. And you you just say, Okay, this is what I've identified, or the company goals, what my goals are within this environment? These are some of the areas that I think I need to be working on, what would you add? What am I missing. So once you actually get that data from your boss, and potentially from your peers, you then understand what number one their languages, what their goals are, what their what's really interesting to them. And make sure on a weekly basis, you have these one to ones or again, if that is to, to official to have those check ins on a regular basis, because then you're able to ensure that you're moving along at exactly parallel. If you're not moving along parallel, someone somewhere is going to their competitive streak is going to come up. If they're not feeling you know, because it's all about them not necessarily feeling secure for whatever really complicated reason that is that maybe they even don't understand, which is how bullying can start to manifest. So I would I would start it out from the very beginning on equal footing. So you've got the language, the narrative, the goals, the aspirations, the ambitions all tied up. So you feel like you're really, really close. And then you're having those check ins to see what's changed. Whenever you hear of anything that just doesn't sound right, you can ask the question. I've noticed there's something that I've been working on this, but I'm noticing this new thing, what's changed so I can understand better. So we can I can reach the goals. And once you're able to kind of create that cadence of working together, I think that will prevent some of the behaviors that it can manifest into. Because when we're in that honeymoon zone, when we first join a company, we're just like, yeah, we're doing great, because your hormones, your endorphins, your chemical, the way up, they're doing beautiful thing. And then you can hit rock bottom, and then you feel like you're lost, you don't know where you're going. So that's what I would recommend. And if you've been in organization for six months, 10 years, whatever it is, you can apply that same principle to whatever has happened, let's say there's been an earnings call in the past week, let's say there's been a recent update with you know, an external consultancy, and you're looking to get a and I do this with my clients where they're seeing that there's just different, a completely different focus from what the person was even doing the week before. The what they do, they've had the earnings call they've had the they've been involved or they've listened in on an earnings call, or they've been they've understood that their consultant, the annual consultant has come in specifically to you know, understand what the year's goals are. Get that update so you're all working in harmony, because that's that's that's another way that you're going to be part of the solution not unknowingly and unwittingly becoming part of the problem that we're believing can manifest.

Jamie Lee  44:44  
I love that. Thank you for sharing that I call it same side management. Like Are we all on the same page? Are we all operating and managing the project board from the same side and there is so much value in in that esting right, it is an investment of time attention, focus in these informal conversations, those check ins. And something that I have taught my clients is, at the end of the day, if you are encountering bullying, despite your best efforts at cultivating allyship, cultivating these relationships and chickens, remember to vote for yourself, right? It's a democracy, trust your gut. And then you might want to vote with your tribe, right? Maybe that's an allied inside or maybe external to the organization. And finally, feel free to vote with your feet. Right? Sometimes, as Caroline says, sometimes if you're feeling sick to your stomach, and you're mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually unwell, you got to save yourself first. The one other thing I want to mention is, yes, we have seen power misuse, we're still seeing it misused in so many different avenues. And for me, I coach women who hate office politics, and hating office politics hating, you know, workplace bullying, is really aiding the misuse of power in this way. And I think it's so easy, especially when we see so many abundant examples of power being misused in this way to internalize this message, that somehow power is bad as well. And I just want to call that out. Just because power is being misused, it doesn't mean that it's necessarily inherently bad, right? Because that can hold women, minorities who have been, you know, pushed aside or bullied to think like, oh, well, I don't want to have power, I don't want to have authority. I've heard that from very competent women managers, right. And so that's something that I wanted to add. But before we wrap up, is there anything else that we haven't yet addressed that you want to make sure that you share with the audience, or that you would love people to know either about this book, or any of your individual books.

Ludmila Praslova  47:11  
I just wanted to say another thing that it is, whenever coming from, the less empowered groups, power is bad, money is bad. Those Those are kind of the same mechanism that many of us have to deal with and finding this balance, believe that you can get power without being evil, or the money without being evil, that is something that I think many of us need to work on. And try to just figure it out what the balance is in our life, where we can take care care of ourselves without harming others. So I think very often, the power that takes shape in the society is that power, the way you use power is harming others, that's obviously not the only way to do it. So maybe if we come into power, specifically with the goal off, making a positive change, that is something that is a different way to look at it. And I might have been one of those people who always also felt like you know, I don't want to be evil. So I don't want to be a boss. Because somebody's bosses are evil. But sometimes that a there are different ways to be a boss and to be power. And so for me actually writing the code was this kind of act because neurodivergent people in the workplace are excluded. There are huge unemployment numbers from 30, to 40%, in general, for neurodivergent people to 80 to 85%, for autistic people with college degrees. So that's, I think, an example where I was like, I don't care what people think. I just want to do something that people might find, you know, who do you think you are, I'm just going to do it because I feel so strongly about it. So that's another way to use whatever knowledge or whatever sources of power that you have, in a way that is hopefully going to benefit a large percentage percentage percentage of the population that has been excluded and mistreated in the workplace. So if we start thinking about whatever source of power we use, it could be again, or knowledge or expertise, but we can use it to make a difference that's positive and again, for ourselves, as well as for other people. That might be one way to just kind I've overcome this perception and say, I'm just going to fight for pillar workplaces. And I do need power for that. And I'm going to apologize for it.

Jamie Lee  50:14  
Love it, love it, Caroline, is there anything else that you want to share with us or you want people to know, before we wrap up,

Caroline Stokes  50:22  
I really want people to know that you're probably experiencing some form of bullying or you have experienced it, or you will experience it. And I really recommend we make no money out of it. The book from Harvard Business Review, it's the HBr guide to navigating the toxic workplace. And it is really good. I've I've read it. And I am really jealous that I didn't write most of them because they're just It's packed with all sorts of angles, depending on the challenge, and it helps you have that sanity check. And if you do feel that, that there is a significant issue, it provides you with all the angles on what to do next, for self, either for self care and self care can also mean exiting the organization. In terms of how to connect with your boss on with one to ones I include that in my book, elephants before unicorns emotionally intelligent HR strategies to save your company. Thank you so much for having us, Jamie.

Jamie Lee  51:17  
Thank you so much for your time, where can folks go to learn more about the work? You do? Both Caroline and with Mila, where should people go?

Ludmila Praslova  51:27  
I'm very easy to find on LinkedIn. And I do show up there pretty consistently, I will have a website. That's the categorical, just like my book, it's not active, but it should be in you know, week or two. So that would be another way where you can find me through my Vanguard University and graduate Organizational Psychology and check us out and see what we do there. So that's another way to find me. Excellent, Carolyn.

Caroline Stokes  51:58  
For me, LinkedIn is the same Caroline Stokes, you can find me at Oh, Caroline Stokes on Twitter, and LinkedIn and Facebook, and threads and all of those different platforms. And my website is the as in the forward moving Thank you. Thank

Jamie Lee  52:18  
you, everyone.

Ludmila Praslova  52:20  
So good. Thank you for this conversation. Hey,

Jamie Lee  52:24  
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