Listen: How to Deal with Mean People Who Suck at Work
"You'RE GONNA meet a lot of great people out there that are really going to help you out but you're gonNA meet a lot of people that are really going to suck here to help us how to deal with those people that suck is Michael. Brennan has been recognized as Forbes. Top Cima influence influencer a top business keynote speaker by the Huffington Post and the top motivational speaker by Entre magazine. He's got a new book out. Called mean people suck how empathy leads leads to bigger profits and better life Michael. Welcome to the show me well. I'm so glad that someone wrote a book about this. Because I mean people do suck and I and keep thinking that to folks who are really great. Innovators leading great companies like Elon. Musk and Steve Jobs. Do they have to be mean people know they don't and that's really the You know one of the things that led me to write. This book is is. There's some surprising counterintuitive research out there actually almost the weight of all the research found shows that organizations and you leaders and cultures that are focused more on on empathy more on on carrying a and less about creating an environment of fear are actually more successful and you know we think I think sometimes it you look at jobs you look at other influential inspiring leaders and we saw they they ruled with a heavy hand and actually if you dive into it what we find is a lot of those leaders. There's a myth of of kind of culture personality about those folks. The actually created cultures where they showed some concern care whether it's for their customers for their employees as or whatever but they actually weren't the mean people thought they were and you know so sometimes I think we have to dig a little bit deeper into some of those but the fact is that cultures organizations positions that are built around empathy and concern for other people are more effective and successful overtime. And I always say just because I do believe because I know enough people have worked for Steve Jobs. One of my friend says you know I. I left apple for the second time when he flew when he threw a coffee pot in my head. I think Steve Jobs was mean right. But as you said just because Steve Steve Jobs was able to create a sessile organization dime being mean or Elon Musk by being you know he's just very compulsive it doesn't mean that you can do it in your organization but the thing is that in more to get people to do stuff you gotta be mean you know you gotta scream you gotta yell but what you're saying your book is that's just not true. It's a myth and that's twice as we hear these stories and you know I'll give you a steve jobs. As an example Steve Actually owned two companies. They'll to companies in life. We we all know apple but we forget about Pixar right and Pixar th-they're founder cofounder wrote a amazing book. One of my favorites called Creativity Inc where they talk about. The secret of their success was a culture of openness finesse and where they had these you know these meetings where they were talking about the movies that they were they were trying to produce in anybody's from the CEO. Down to the janitor could provide an opinion so you know even in those mis of personality around Steve Jobs yet sure but he threw coffee should people but the fact is that he built a company that had an entire sort of culture of empathy empathy built right into it and it was the reason for their success. So you know that's that's one simple thing another another step that I love to use as A good friend of mine. Jim STANGL. who was the former? CMO At doc proctor and gamble wrote a book called grow where he looked at companies that were built on some sort of purpose or values where they weren't just putting profits over people they were putting people over profits fits those companies were four hundred percent more successful based on their stock price. And so yeah we hear these anecdotal stories about me leaders but the simple fact is that companies that we're built on cultures of acceptance and diversity and inclusion and and concern for other people or the environment or whatever it is concern for others and not just you know leadership worship There are more successful so if you want to build a successful company have a little bit of concern for the people around. You know. It's interesting because now that I think back on of course we'll never know is maybe Steve. Jobs was like like that because I didn't want there to be leadership worship right because certainly apple is a company built on concern for other people in diversity inclusion and those kinds of things. Well that's exactly right. I mean you look at you. Look at their headed resigned. I mean he's he's he's a famous person in in his own right. And their whole company was built on obsession over customer you know utilization and amazing customer experiences. So Yeah Steve Maybe was obsessed with an you know sort of forceful in making that an important point. But that's what apple was it was a company built around providing an amazing technical customer experience. So you talk about on your bother. You've had fifty three jobs in your life. See you must have seen your fair share of mean people absolutely. Yeah Yeah I mean you know the story is I I was. Somebody sat down with me for an interview and they were like. Hey you've been a successful executive and you know for the first time I actually never had considered third myself as accessible. I I still feel like I have a lot to accomplish. And she asked me why and You know I give her an answer but afterwards thinking about it and then I started thinking well how many how many jobs have I actually had. And I counted them up and and I thought you know a lot of the reason I've had so many and a lot of them were within one company. I spent nine years at at one company. Seven years of another. I mean I've had some long stints but many jobs within and what I found was that in most cases I liked the company or I like the work but I just hated my boss and and You know I think a lot of the reason for the fifty jobs is I left my boss and and in some cases gave up too soon. I think I think slowly over the course of my career. Learn how to deal with What I look back at and considered some mean people One great example. I had a boss who I really didn't like and We're not friends and what happened was I learned how to deal with him. I learned we were both fathers. We were both parents of a couple of kids and and once I got to know him as a person once I got to understand what he really wanted to accomplish and once I took the I think the courage to stick up for myself and let him know like you know. Hey if you want something accomplished hired me to do that job and I'm good at doing that job so let we do it. We became we had a great working environment refreshing. Today it's interesting. You said that you left your boss when I left IBM and in Nineteen Ninety I actually. He did leave my boss and I always tell a joke when I'm speaking that this guy used to have sales contests where first prize was lunch with him. And I always said what second price to lunches with you and I realize is it. I didn't just leave IBM. I really left him. So based on your experience Michael How do you deal with mean people that suck at work instead of just getting out of the situation but that's not always the solution. That's not always the right thing to do. That's that's right and and and it's true and in fact. The data shows that most people do leave. I think it's something like sixty plus percent and people that leave a job or leaving the boss. It's not the company of the work which is sad you know? It means that we have a crisis of leadership in our in our culture. The simple as that I've kind Touch upon this but the first thing is find out what your boss really wants If you find out in that conversation that your boss just wants to feed his ego he he or she is a narcissist. Then you need to leave. That's that's step number five but but the first thing is find out what they really want. you know. Make sure that's clear between the two of you. The second thing and this is something I I I did it almost every job I had is. I would interview a neat with the people that were appears of my boss. I would meet with the stakeholders that my boss was supposed to be serving customers which choose a lot of fun but really try to kind of get a three hundred sixty degree view of what. What your leader really is looking for what they're trying to accomplish? Then the third is what I what I what I mentioned. You have to have that courageous conversation. I call it the cake. Baking conversation you WANNA sit down and have this conversation with your boss where you say. Listen I know you want me to you WANNA cake. You want it to be chocolate chocolate chips with chocolate icing and guess what. I'm a good chef. I know how to make a really great cake. So let me go big that you can't ask me for a cake and tell me how to bake it and so that's the conversation that too few of us. Have we get into this kind of victim mentality where we think our bosses yell at us and tell us what to do and we get mad and miserable and then we leave. So that's the third step is making sure you have that conversation. The fourth I mentioned as well get to know them as a person you know try to just subtly find out you know are they mean because they're going through a divorce or or they've got you know health issues. They got problems at home like you know. Sometimes we learn these things we find that they're people too and we can understand and a little bit more about why they're acting the way they are and so once you go through those steps if you still find that your boss Jerk Ben step number five is either commit to delivering what they want or leave and and I think at least having a formal systematic profits go through those steps can really help a lot of people."