When Panic Becomes the Norm at Work!

When Panic Becomes the Norm at Work!

panicWork panic is more common than you may realise.

A culture at work that accepts panic as normal leads to lots of unhappiness and stress. Your quality of work falls and often it is a home for bullies.

Many moons ago I worked for an organization where panic was the cultural norm. If people were not running round the corridors screaming at each other about what needed to be done, the boss thought they were too stupid to understand the priorities. If not that, then he thought they lacked motivation.

That culture led to lots of unhappiness and a significant amount of bullying. On top of that, the quality of the work delivered was never better than just good enough and often not that. Given this was a finance section responsible in those days for overseeing huge budgets, the results were pretty disastrous.

The experience of panic

I went into the section with a reputation as a good manager who was capable of first rate work. But I lacked the confidence necessary to reject the culture. By the end of six months, I was panicking and shouting at people too.

One day the consequences were brought home to me in a way that is still painful to remember. At a performance review, a member of my team had the courage to tell me what effect my behaviour, as his manager, was having on him. I have never felt more ashamed.

His courage gave me the confidence to confront my own manager about the climate he and I had created. He didn’t like hearing it and he didn’t want to change. In the end, when I threatened to move, he agreed to try another way. It wasn’t easy for him but he made the effort and we were lucky that the team gave us the benefit of the doubt and were prepared to work with us. The results were impressive and we never went back to “running round like headless chickens”.

What about you?

Do you work in an organisation where panic is the norm? What is it like to work there and what is the effect on you and your own standards? Don’t wait as long as I did to accept that change is needed. Do what you can to bring about that change.

If you can’t bring about change, then move on. Think whether you will want to look back and remember this experience. Do you really want to share responsibility for the harm it can cause you and the people round you?

If you need help handling a problem at work please get in touch. Remember I offer a trial free half hour coaching session by phone or Skype.

Wendy Smith is a career, life and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can book a discussion with Wendy about your coaching needs and your personal development at this link

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link


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