Bullying in the World of BNI
Start the Applause Chapter Two
I always get a kick out of people who complain about being in any type of leadership role, then when they finally get replaced they feel put out because no one is soliciting their advice. This happened when I was a Selectman for the Town of Epsom. Many times we heard from the audience members, “Well, when I was a Selectman…”
So I have probably done this as well. I guess I will need to apologize in advance to those I have done this to. It makes it a very awkward for the new regime. New leaders accept positions of leadership with the hopes of bringing their unique experience to a position. When the “old” people step in and offer their advice, the “new” people feel obligated to humor them and say thank you. But once the person walks out of the room, everyone just goes back to the conversation they were having.
I am also noticing certain people acting differently toward me now that I am President of my BNI Chapter. People who may not have given me a second look, are now very polite and chatty, and more than happy to offer their opinions on how a situation should be handled. Could be my imagination. But probably not.
Last week in our BNI meeting overheard a comment directed at me in a joking manner. “Boy is she bossy!” I know that something said in sarcasm is the thing the person is truly feeling deep down, so they say it as a joke so people know how they feel but don’t get in trouble, because they were joking. Well played, but I see right through that. Again, this was coming from someone I think wishes they were in leadership but is not willing to step up and actually lead. The good news is that I think they can turn it around.
Jealousy takes all forms but generally looks like bullying. People who bullied others in school grow up and become business owners. And parents. And spouses. And employees. And they still bully. They may be able to disguise it as “I wish you would do it my way”, “Let’s be friends so I can get you to do what I want”, or “Boy is she bossy!” but I can see it for what it is.
How can I handle it? I am letting the forces of culture make the next move. There are 35+ other people in the room who would go to the mat for me. And they will do that unsolicited when the need arises. I will succeed as President, and my chapter will succeed despite the 2-3 grumblers. Eventually they will get on the train or leave the station. They just won’t be the Conductor.