Winnipeg Free Press - Section H - - FRONT PAGE -

At the same time, in many cases, th­ese em­ploy­ees turn their anger in­ward and ask them­selves, “What’s wrong with me?” in­stead of ask­ing what’s wrong with the boss. So, how does an em­ployee deal with this sit­u­a­tion? What about the em­ployer?

From the em­ployee per­spec­tive, deal­ing with a boss who is that so-called “snake in a suit” is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult, es­pe­cially if one or more com­plaints have been filed and no ac­tion has been taken. At this point, if you haven’t done so al­ready; start pro­tect­ing your­self and look for an­other job.

A key chal­lenge for ev­ery em­ployee in this sit­u­a­tion, is main­tain­ing self-es­teem in an en­vi­ron­ment that is pun­ish­ing and toxic. Re­flect back to all of your cur­rent work and pre­vi­ous jobs and doc­u­ment what you have done well. Re­flect on pre­vi­ous com­ple­ments. Post them some­where and give your­self a daily boost by read­ing them ev­ery day. Con­tinue to do a good job in spite of the crit­i­cism. Copy and re­tain sam­ples of your work.

Look around your cur­rent work­place and de­ter­mine if there are op­por­tu­ni­ties to move to an­other role within the or­ga­ni­za­tion. Stretch your­self and look for jobs where you can learn new skills or build more depth to your level of ex­per­tise.

Mon­i­tor your stress and fo­cus on those tried and true gen­eral rules of good health such as good sleep, ex­er­cise. Seek out some­one to talk to, prefer­ably a pro­fes­sional who can pro­vide strate­gies and tech­niques for dis­en­tan­gling your­self from your sit­u­a­tion.

Up­date your re­sumé and have it ready. Ap­ply for po­si­tions but en­gage in due dili­gence re­gard­ing any new op­por­tu­ni­ties. You don’t want to get your­self into an­other bad sit­u­a­tion. Pre­pare to re­spond to in­ter­view ques­tions re­lated to why you are con­tem­plat­ing leav­ing your cur­rent job. Stick with the be­nign re­sponse that you are leav­ing due to a dif­fer­ent in lead­er­ship and man­age­ment style dif­fer­ence and/or that you are seek­ing work in a more suit­able work en­vi­ron­ment.

From the em­ployer’s per­spec­tive, weed­ing out a “snake in a suit” starts right at the re­cruit­ment phase. Screen re­sumés care­fully by look­ing for in­con­sis­ten­cies in job ex­pe­ri­ence. Pay at­ten­tion to po­ten­tial ex­ag­ger­a­tions with re­spect to ac­com­plish­ments and take no­tice of job ten­ure as th­ese in­di­vid­u­als tend to move fre­quently as they try to climb their per­ceived lad­der of suc­cess.

Pre­pare your list of key com­pe­ten­cies re­quired for the job and then link this with in-depth be­havioural in­ter­view ques­tions and a mul­ti­ple, struc­tured ap­proach that al­lows you to get a well rounded view of your can­di­dates. In­volve more peo­ple in the in­ter­view and se­lec­tion process and don’t for­get to ask for a va­ri­ety of ref­er­ences. Pro­pose the same ques­tions to ref­er­ees as the can­di­date, in or­der to pro­vide ver­i­fi­ca­tion of skills, ex­per­tise and ex­pe­ri­ence.

Use all the on­line tools avail­able to you in or­der to con­firm if your can­di­date is the right fit. Un­der­take one or more psy­cho­me­t­ric as­sess­ment tools to learn more about per­sonal char­ac­ter, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, lead­er­ship style, and team­work. Check out on­line can­di­date pro­files and de­ter­mine the na­ture of their in­for­mal com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Fi­nally, if a “snake in a suit” has in­deed been hired, you’ll find that it can take any­where be­tween six months to two years for be­hav­iour to be­come prob­lem­atic. Watch for the de­vel­op­ment of dys­func­tional re­la­tion­ships within the unit be­ing man­aged by the new in­cum­bent, as well as un­ex­pected turnover of well-re­spected em­ploy­ees.

If you are the em­ployer and you are con­fronted with th­ese chal­leng­ing yet in­sid­i­ous re­la­tion­ships, be sure to take any and all com­plaints se­ri­ously. In­ves­ti­gate and get all the facts. Keep in mind that while prof­itabil­ity is im­por­tant, your over­all suc­cess will not last long if psy­cho­pathic em­ployee be­hav­iour is not dealt with.

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