THE BLOG

Do You Have a Donald Trump at Work?

08/07/2015 05:02 EDT | Updated 08/07/2016 05:59 EDT
Amanda Rohde via Getty Images
You're fired written on a post it note on a corkboard

You're right, I am Canadian. I cannot vote in the upcoming U.S. Primaries, or the election itself.

My comments on Donald have nothing to do with his political aspirations. It has to do with the damage that a personality like Donald's brings to the workplace. Admit it, you have a Donald Trump at work don't you?

Donald Trump (especially after last nights debates) is a pro at getting press coverage and attention. That's exactly what he wants. I'm not sure he even wants to be President of the United States. What he wants is attention, and that is exactly what he is getting!

Our Donald at work does exactly the same thing. He (or she) just wants attention. They are toxic to the entire workplace as everyone is somewhat afraid of what he will do or say next. The fear of being next in the firing line keeps everyone quiet.

Donald's comments last night specifically about Rosie O'Donnell were way way across the line. Regardless of how you feel about Rosie, you can admit he was out of line, inappropriate and unprofessional.

When our "work" Donald makes inappropriate comments, he disguises them in humour. Exactly like Trump did. They laugh it away saying it was just a joke.

It's not a funny joke.

In the workplace people will laugh because they are afraid to be the next target for Donald.

Secretly (or in groups outside of Work Donald's hearing), they don't like Work Donald, but they don't challenge him. They don't tell him he is out of line; they don't call him on his behaviour. They laugh, they try to be friendly and they walk on eggshells in fear of being next.

Our Work Donald creates a toxic work environment that hurts your company's morale, its spirit and ultimately its profitability. You lose your best employees because they will ultimately leave to join a healthier workplace. Your customer service suffers, your staff call in sick when they are not sick, and they don't work a full day because ultimately they are angry that you have done nothing to discipline Work Donald.

Do you really want your Work Donald to damage your workplace?

It is time to send our Work Donalds a message that this type of behaviour won't be tolerated. This just isn't someone who is outspoken and rude, or lacking in social skills -- it is a bully.

If you've ever been on the receiving end of a bully at work, you will admit that you probably have second-guessed yourself a time or two. Perhaps you even justify their accusations (such as: I'm a good worker until it comes to Donald. Then you can guarantee that I'm going to mess up). Part of you thought if you were just nice enough, then Work Donald would be nice to you right? You planned on taking the high road to show Work Donald that their toxic behaviour wouldn't get you.

Then it did. It slowly eats away at your confidence. Over time, it destroys you and takes away the joy of going to work.

Bullies don't go away. Donald Trump's attack on Rosie last night came out of the blue. There was no reason for him to say what he said, yet he did (except that he wanted attention -- which he got!).

Your Work Donald will do the same thing. Out of the blue they will attack again. And again. And again. You start to fear going to work, you fear speaking up, and you just don't perform.

Naturally I tell my consulting clients (the ones with decision making power) that trying to reform a Work Donald will ultimately fail and they need to get rid of their Work Donald. Sacrifice one employee for the sake of all others.

Sometimes that's exactly what my clients want to hear.

What if you're not in a position to fire Work Donald? Document. Take notes of what is said, and who said it. Create a paper trail. Get your ducks in a row.

Then you need to open the dialogue at work with those people who can do something. Start talking to Human Resources or your union representative. Go directly to Work Donald's boss and present a business case. Stop being silent and hoping it goes away.

Be prepared to fight the battle.

No, it won't be easy. It might not even feel like it is worth it. It is.

We cannot reward behaviour like this. I would like to think that Donald Trump will not get the nomination for the Republican party; not because I agree or disagree with his politics; but because his behaviour is unacceptable and should not be rewarded, nor ignored.

Donald Trump or Work Donald.... You're Fired!

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