The Weinstein Scandal – protecting against the abuse of power

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The Harvey Weinstein story raises the issue of senior manager bullying and psychopathic type behaviour. The allegations of misconduct and sexual harassment made against him are terrible but, sadly, not shocking. Described as an ‘open secret’, it is behaviour widely assumed to occur in casting couch scenarios but which has been allowed to pass due to a cultural tendency to disbelieve the victim. Only now are the reports, allegations and accusations being treated seriously.

What is shocking is that some reporting on this story would lead you to believe that this behavioural problem is confined to Hollywood. It is very visible in all businesses as well as the film industry. It is all about abusing power. The abuse may take different forms, but it is always bullying. Bullying occurs all through life from school onwards. Bullies need to be rooted out, named and shamed.

It is well documented that there are many sociopaths and psychopaths in business. Key features of these conditions – a lack of empathy, no guilt, no conscience, lack of emotional intelligence, and the manipulation of people – have traditionally aided bullies’ rise to positions of power, from where they are able to hurt more individuals and enjoy a greater degree of protection.

A strong HR function should aim to protect organisations from these types of people. Although successful in the short term, they cause a great deal of direct and collateral damage in the long-term. Firms harbouring them will eventually suffer expensive legal cases, loss of talent, and loss of clients. The greatest damage is that done to the individuals who have suffered at the hands of the bully. Personal damage can be irreparable and irreversible.

Hollywood’s ‘open secret’ – a culture in which people are prepared to look the other way in exchange for continued success – is not confined to Hollywood. Individuals exhibiting the characteristics of a bully are often excused if they are temporarily useful. Euphemistic epithets can sometimes hide serious behavioural issues – he’s ‘a character’, she’s ‘larger than life’. In Hollywood films, the villains arrive onscreen to ominous music. In real life there’s no tell-tale music but there are signs and HR must be vigilant.

Enabling Successful Outplacement and Career Transition

career transition

Embracing change as a positive

Change in the business world today is something that is expected as a norm and to be encouraged and extolled. It’s commonly realised that the world is changing faster than ever before and that those who remain stuck in their ways will be left behind. Businesses want to be the agile, evolving mammals not the lumbering dinosaurs. In this environment, it’s easy to be excited about changes in the world around you – changes to your own life and career can be a different matter though.

Most of us are not merely reconciled to, but have fully embraced the changing world and the opportunities it presents. Externally, we have learnt to identify, change and improve aspects of the business we are part of. With regards to our own roles within a business, we have become more comfortable with being flexible and more open to training and development. However, career transition itself can still seem a daunting prospect, particularly when it may be imposed as a result of restructuring of the business.

Don’t get left alone or lost in the crowd

If you or your staff are facing this prospect, you can take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Career transition is part and parcel of the modern world and there are tangible ways to smooth the journey. Very few people now remain on a single career path, receiving a gold watch on retirement for their efforts. Adaptation and restructuring have made involuntary transition much more commonplace, as well as accepted by new employers, and increased connectivity brings an awareness of opportunities which leads many to make decisive changes themselves.

Of course, the downside to the increasing regularity of career transition is the growth of mass-market services which have grown to facilitate it. If there’s anything as bad as being alone, it’s being treated as a part of the faceless crowd. When it comes to transitioning your career, online tools, self-diagnostics, e-learning and other ‘one size fits all’ approaches aren’t always suitable for such a significant and personal step. Group seminars can provide useful information but cannot deliver the personalised service one would consider appropriate. We believe that one-to-one support is the most effective way to make the transition.

One-to-one career service

The significance of the moment requires a more individual approach. People Risk Solutions offer a package of one-to-one sessions for those undergoing career transition in order for our clients to take full advantage of the situation. Not only is this a time of change, it is an opportunity for growth and a chance to analyse your skills, behaviours and preferences – not only to secure your next appointment but to increase your effectiveness and happiness.

This is also a very personal process. There are bound to be emotions in play during a moment of transition, both positive and negative. Elation at a new challenge and excitement to be taking a new path may sit side by side with fear of the future or worry about self-worth. Talking through your options and ambitions with a specialist in a one-to-one setting allows you to focus on the positives and draw up a tailored career strategy.

Though career transition has become a more common occurrence, it remains a significant moment in anyone’s work life. It is a time for contemplation, but also a time for action. Using one-to-one sessions to talk though the process, and build positive plans for the future, allows you to extract the most value from this time of reflection and to decide on the best course of action for you and your career. To find out how PRS could help you to navigate a period of change, or to book a series of one-to-one career transition sessions, contact us here.

In the news: post-Brexit change in a job offer

Brexit has brought with it uncertainty in all sorts of areas, not least recruitment strategy throughout financial services.

If you’ve been looking to land a new job this year, you may have found yourself in a unique position: a post-Brexit change in your job offer.

Andrew wrote an article for Financial News on just this topic, and the full article can be found here.

In the news: promotions without a pay rise

Andrew recently contributed to EFinancial Careers’ piece on accepting promotions that don’t include a pay rise. It’s not always about a salary increase, but about other benefits and long-term career moves.

This question is fascinating for employers, too, and the article includes some food for thought on what employees might look for when taking on more responsibility without a pay rise.

Read the full post from EFinancial Careers here.


In the news: eight phrases not to use with your investment banking boss

Whether negotiating a pay rise or simply trying to make a strong impression, there are certain phrases that may not go down too well with investment banking in the current climate.

Andrew was recently asked what he would recommend candidates and employees to avoid, and his answer was not to over-claim being “the expert”. In a changing environment, expertise can quickly become obsolete. Adaptability is more highly valued.

Read the full article and all eight phrases to avoid here.