Monsters in the Workplace

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Halloween is my favorite holiday, so I’m focused on spooks, monsters, and things that go bump in the night today. Here are some monsters you might encounter in the workplace tomorrow.

Ghosting Recruiters.

The term “ghosting” first appeared in the Urban Dictionary as a term referring to dating: “quietly disappearing from someone you’ve met in an online dating site.” The hope is the “ghostee” will just get the hint and leave the ghost alone, saving him or her the trouble of telling the other that they’re no longer interested.

Ghosting is widely considered a cowardly and immature communication practice, which makes it hard to explain the behavior when practiced by recruiters tasked with finding talent for their employers. One of the most common complaints I hear from job seekers is the lack of communication from companies they apply to. Wrier Devon Maloney starts her post on ghosting at The Daily Good by saying, “I’m still in the running for a job I interviewed for in 2014. At least, I think I am? I never heard one way or another.”

Maloney writes that ghosting has become more prevalent, according to young job seekers, and happens within every size and level of company. In fact, the cooler and more desirable the company or job is, the more disposable candidates seem to be. Candidates are asked invest hours of time on multiple interviews (and sometimes travel) and even deliver work samples before finding that the recruiter just fades away. Repeated phone calls and followed up emails are simply ignored.

Maloney speculates that companies treat candidates this way, well, because they can. She writes “While bound by discrimination and other labor laws in choosing employees, companies have no pre-employment obligations, communication-wise, to potential hires. Ironically, neither national human resources organization I contacted responded to multiple requests for comment.”

(Courtesy of Jon Gordon) Energy Vampires.

Energy Vampires are “the people who drain your energy and suck the life out of you and your goals and vision if you let them.” Here are his tips for dealing with them.

  • If you encounter Energy Vampires in your daily life remember Gandhi’s words “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
  • If you have a personal friend or a friend at work who is an EV you may decide to talk to them about their negativity. If you have a strong relationship with them and they know you care about them, they may be open to your advice. But remember Energy Vampires can’t see their own reflection. They may not realize they are an Energy Vampire. Proceed with caution if you decide to go this route. And if you do, do it with love.
  • If you have a neighbor that is an EV and it’s one of those days where you just don’t want their negativity to impact you, run away as fast as you can when you see them. Just say you have something in the oven.

Zombie Managers

Writing for Forbes online, Victor Lipman says zombie managers are distinguished by their longevity. “Even if their age is hard to judge, they’ve been with the company seemingly forever. They’re impossible to do away with. Undeterred by previous disasters, they remain in the role. Employees hopeful for a change in management don’t know how they do it. You’d think they’d have been long gone long ago, but somehow they survive. Against all odds, they keep coming back.”

Here are Lipman’s signs you may have a zombie manager:

No verbal communication: Speaking with employees, communicating, understanding what employees want and need… none of these are high on their list of priorities. Their natural state is silence. You often wonder what thoughts, if any, are coursing through their brains.

Robotic in their responses: To the extent there’s any actual two-way communication, it feels robotic, mechanical, almost lifeless. New ideas are routinely snuffed out with a barely audible, “This is the way we’ve always done it here…”

Control by fear and menace: Minimal leadership is demonstrated, and equally little organizing or planning. To the extent they have interest in any of the classic managerial functions, it’s control – and control accomplished by a sense of fear and menace. Their employees aren’t motivated by enthusiasm for the job or company, but by an acute sense of dread when projects go awry. It’s management by fear, a practice sometimes effective in the short term but not sustainable for the long term.

If you have a zombie boss, your only hope may be to move on to another job. Just be wary of what may be fly by night companies or get witch quick schemes.

Have a terrific Halloween.

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