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21 March 2009


Eric the Red

Maybe the real problem is that technical guys with deep knowledge usually can't stand glib marketing a-holes who spout buzzwords in lieu of actual understanding.


The same is true of jerkass customers who berate staff: "If I worked for you I'd have this all fixed in a heartbeat!"

If more people spoke up and acted out (appropriately, of course) about these bullies, we'd have healthier workplaces for employees and customers alike.

Philip Tiongson

Hi Eric the Red - You're most likely right. Based on my experience, those who think through things more deeply and apply knowledge to problems are more likely to be a bit on the quiet side: I call them the "silent pillars of strength". They get 'overshadowed' by the glib ones who think they know everything - and who think they are God's gift to any and every problem in the world. In these times of challenges, I believe that these pillars of strengths will rise. And those with the gift of glib will probably have to learn to live with that - whether they like it or not. The spotlight no longer solely shines on them. That's the beauty - if I can call it that - of times of adversity: you get to see those that can and will deliver because they know what they are doing deeply - and be differentiated from those who are simply sailing through and riding on others'.

Philip Tiongson

Hi Torley -

Thanks for the comment. Indeed, you are right: if we called the bluff of these these bullies. we'd have a better workplace environ at work and in our lives.

For co-workers, I find it easier. I do call people's bluff when I know it just isn't right. I either insert myself between the bully and the bullied or by making a few moves that would make them more inspired and empowered. (I am not perfect, however - because I know I can be a bully, too... and sometimes, my moves have 'unintended consequences'.)

For customers who berate staff, it's a lot more difficult: We still live in a world of "customer is king" whether we like it or not. Calling their bluff is sometimes difficult particularly in challenging financial scenarios. But there is a limit, of course: When a customer no longer respects the "humanness" of another, that's when I draw the line. No amount of money or business can take away degradation from bullies - customers or not.

I believe in strategic timing, however: There is a time for one to call the bluff. And that is when one strikes - with full force knowing full-well the consequences of calling the bluff - and potentially, walking away.

Thanks very much for the comment.

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