Auditing Career: Dealing with Mentally Unstable Managers

S

selena15

#1
Hi Covers

i would like to share with you one amazing article. it is relating to auditing careers. mainly the writter is in sox, compliance side but finaly it is about auditing and he pointed one side vey interesting.

also , in iso audit, we use to say that this is the process which is audited and which may be subject to amelioration. what i've seen in these article and in finance audit in general, they focuse more on human behaviors

i wan't say more

read it and your feedback is welcome :)

Auditing Career: Dealing with Mentally Unstable Managers


sel
 
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Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#2
Interesting article. (when reading the thread's title I said to my husband: "Must behave...I must behave!") :lol:

It's been my observation that errant behavior has at least two crucial factors: the source and the enabler. I read the article and detected a fair amount of discussion and diagnosis exploration without the discipline that psychologists are in fact expected to exert when suggesting or delivering a diagnosis. The link is to a favorite of mine, I have read NPD is common in successful managers.

Psychologists have identified a number of disorders that involve comparing behaviors against a spectrum of indicators, such as the list in the Mayo Clinic link I provided, in order to arrive at a "diagnosis." Not only should we laymen take these attempts at diagnoses as something to be built upon vs. taken as fact, we untrained people should even not attempt to perform diagnoses ourselves.

So what should we do with these people? That's a tough one. Not only do we not have the prerogative to diagnose, even if we do get it right there's typically little we can do outside of self preservation. We can't choose what people say to us, but we can choose how to react. The advice to look for a new job is worthwhile to consider, but if what I've read is true, there are a lot of people in leadership positions with NPD so we may not be able to avoid such problems completely and we certainly can't heal them. It may be best to learn to deal with the behaviors.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
#3
Hi Covers

i would like to share with you one amazing article. it is relating to auditing careers. mainly the writter is in sox, compliance side but finaly it is about auditing and he pointed one side vey interesting.

also , in iso audit, we use to say that this is the process which is audited and which may be subject to amelioration. what i've seen in these article and in finance audit in general, they focuse more on human behaviors

i wan't say more

read it and your feedback is welcome :)

http://auditjournal.wordpress.com/2...reer-dealing-with-mentally-unstable-managers/


sel
This topic is one which frequently arises here in the Cove. I've addressed it on numerous occasions. back in 2005, I wrote
Yep. I agree the "soft" side of the problem is really the toughest to recognize and reengineer.

If you have a problem with product quality, you get pretty effective notice - customers either complain or they stop buying.

If you have an internal social problem (I see many companies every year which have at least one), often it is shrouded by a "taboo" - practically a religious proscription to even acknowledge it exists, let alone do anything to alleviate it.

Here's some examples. See if you recognize any:
  1. Boss is bedding a female staff member. She gets higher pay and her work load falls on fellow workers while she enjoys long, leisurely "lunches" with the boss.
  2. Boss is a sadist. He enjoys humiliating workers just because he can. Workers either suck it up and work or they leave. The bully boss, in turn, like Eddie Haskell on Leave It to Beaver, always ingratiates himself with his superiors, so no one with power notes the social situation. Intimidated workers, under constant stress, spend their time figuring out how to "manage" a bad boss instead of working to get him fired.
  3. Bosses and owners run an out and out "sweat shop" hiring desperate folks and overworking them and underpaying them. The constant threat of losing the job and, in turn, losing home and family (FEAR - one of Deming's big bugaboos) keeps the workers in line. This kind of operation frequently hires illegal immigrants, adding to the stress the fear of being turned in to authorities and deported.
  4. Bosses who flaunt their wealth and possessions to poorly paid employees. This ranges from the boss who makes employees eat lunch outside in the parking lot while the space inside where they could have eaten is taken up by his bright, shiny speedboat on its trailer. Perhaps the boss who wears $2,000 suits berating a $300/week salesman for not dressing "better." Maybe it's the boss who has the company picnic at his palatial estate in a far suburb, but never lets them see the inside of the house, required to use portapotties while even the catering staff gets to use toilets inside the house. Maybe it's just the boss who brags about the fabulous dinner he had at some celebrity chef's kitchen (where everyone knows the minimum price per diner is over $200 - about a week's takehome for the clerk who is forced to hear the tale.)
Yep. The social conditions are often intolerable. They seem to be getting worse as organizations misinterpret "Lean" to be "mean" and overburden workers by cutting staffing to a skeleton crew and cutting pay.
On the same track, I also wrote in 2004
Fear and how to handle it is a large component of change management.

One of the things a good change manager does is to look for the "taboos" within an organization. These are the topics that just NEVER get mentioned because of FEAR.

These topics may range from stuff like
  • the top boss's private secretary who can't type or spell, but has frequent closed-door meetings with the boss during the course of the day

    to
  • wearing only white shirts and solid color neckties to avoid inflaming a conservative family member of the boss

    to
  • never comparing salaries among employees.
Obviously, there are other taboos and fears having to do with customers, bureaucrats, unions, competitors, tyrannical bosses, etc. Often, it takes an outsider to recognize these taboos, because they have become so ingrained into the "we've always done it this way" mentality that the employees no longer recognize the taboo, let alone the fear behind the taboo.

Someone with power and virtual immunity from retaliation has to empower the change agent to expose the taboos and bring them out in the open where they can be discussed and dealt with.

Without that power and authority, an individual exposes taboos at his peril. Sorry to say, life in a modern organization is NOT like the fairy tale of the "Emperor's New Clothes." If you speak out against the taboo or even merely identify it, you may be labeled "unfit for office" and dismissed.
The problem is never with identifying the sociopath (there are other kinds of mental illness, of course, but sociopaths who make life miserable for subordinates and coworkers are the ones in provoke the most fear and anger among the workers - bipolar folks can ALSO be sociopaths); the problem is with each individual worker affected by the sociopath. That worker must make a decision:

  1. try to stay out of the way and suffer for the sake of the paycheck
  2. try to assemble a group of similarly affected workers to make an appeal to a higher authority to remove the sociopath
  3. do as the psychologist in the article suggests: "look for another job as soon as possible"
Over my long career, I've encountered a lot of sociopaths who exhibit symptoms (from the list below) and I have resorted to one or more of my three alternates, depending on the circumstances. From my personal experience, there is no "one size fits all" plan of action to follow and all of the ones I list are "non value added" in that the worker usually comes out with a net loss.

It may be nice to think all sociopaths get their comeuppance eventually, but revenge does not put food on the table when the worker loses opportunities for raises or promotions or even his job because of the sociopath. Worse, the continual pressure of working with or under such sociopath affects the worker psychologically and socially, affecting his relationships with family, friends, and acquaintances.

Venting about such a sociopath may seem cathartic, but as I wrote in 2006 on venting
Originally Posted by Discordian
Regarding venting - In many cases it absolutely is value added.
It's cathartic and catharsis is useful to gain insight into a problem because it encourages communication.
What is better:
1) Sitting at your desk staring a spreadsheet thinking "my job sucks" over and over or
This is just venting without an audience
2) Talking out the problem with a trusted co-worker who may have a helpful suggestion or two.
This isn't venting -- it is all a matter of "how" the conversation proceeds - Does it begin:
  1. I hate my boss and I hate my job . . .
    or
  2. I've run into a problem and I'd like your advice on how to proceed . . .
#1 is venting and the coworker may be gracious enough to give you a good tip, but he'll think less of you, no matter what you think.
#2 is a good start on root cause analysis
Understand that I'm not talking about the yelling over the cubicle wall or closing the door and kicking things kind of venting. THAT is childish.
I never would expect that kind of venting in public from a sane person. In my opinion, any kind of whining or complaining about jerks or unfairness or stupidity shows weakness and that is taboo for a person who wants to be thought of as a professional destined for higher responsibility and authority.
Some folks may wonder about the term "sociopath"
From this site
Sociopath Symptoms and Traits

The widely used manual that is used for diagnosing various mental disorders, DSM IV, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, lists out some of the symptoms that have to be present in an individual in order to be diagnosed as suffering from antisocial personality disorder. According to the DSM IV, this disorder falls in the Cluster B list of personality disorder. For a person to be diagnosed as a sociopath he or she must have at least three or more of the below mentioned symptoms.

  1. Displays heightened levels of deceitfulness in dealings with others, which involves lying, conning others without remorse, or even using aliases
  2. Inability to abide by the social norms and thus violating law
  3. Displays aggressiveness and often tends to get into assaults and physical fights
  4. Displays complete lack of empathy for others and their situation for which they are responsible
  5. Displays no feelings or shallow feelings
  6. Displays impulsive behavior which is indicated by the inability to plan for the future
  7. Displays no concern for safety of others around them or self
  8. Inability to sustain a consistent behavior that stems mainly from irresponsibility especially at work place or in other dealings
  9. Displays promiscuous behavior
Research has revealed that since a sociopath never conforms to the rules of the society, he or she is not bothered about the consequences of his or her actions. Such people at times are also able to inspire like minded people. Some of the other traits that are common in antisocial people are that they are usually intelligent and have a superficial charm and they are able to attain success using unscrupulous methods. Thus they can also never learn from their own mistakes and they do not hesitate to indulge in certain activities that are considered immoral and taboo by the society.
As an outside (or, especially, an internal) auditor, the auditor's task is to identify PROCESSES which are either in conformance or not. Essentially, then, the auditor reports the activity which causes a nonconformance, and does not engage in a diagnosis of the mental status of the individual performing the nonconforming activity nor of the individual's boss.

Similarly, a worker whose activity in nonconforming because the auditor observes contradictory or harassing comments by the worker's superior may simply report, "Worker appeared distracted by his superior from performing activity in a conforming manner."

The auditor does NOT engage in the root cause investigation - which may be a dysfunctional boss - It is the task of the organization under audit to determine (or not) that the root cause is a boss who creates fear, distrust, and unease among the workers, causing them to make nonconforming work..
 

Raffy

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
Hi everyone, :)
I can relate to this.
I wish to send the inputs to our HR.
Thank you very much for sharing this masterpiece. :bigwave:
Best regards,
Raffy :cool:
 
S

selena15

#5
hi all
thank you for feedback


...It may be best to learn to deal with the behaviors.
To deal with them: interesting but how? , it suggest to be strong and subtle personality, because workers need to detect it as behavior and not independent reaction or kind of, and strong because this is the day to day cohabitation and the Incidence of such behavior on the others person cannot be avoided otherwise we will not find demotivation, procrastination….etc.

To leave a job may be solution but what is the likelihood to not find itself in the same situation in other job?

From another side, I’ve observed in the past, that some workers after struggling with such behavior from their managers just gave up and start to act differently:

-they say yes to get rest from boss and do what they want when he’s away,
-Stop to correct or address problems when they arise to avoid having conflict with the boss.


... the source and the enabler...
From my side, when I’ve read it, I’ve thought about the organizational culture type and leadership versus management culture one may be the enabler that you point Jennifer Kirley: I cannot think that values, culture of organizations has nothing to do with such behavior or at least with its proliferation and the fact that one organization culture may be more conducive for such behavior to develop and be safe to spread its negative impact around him/her. Organization have policies, procedures, HR rules on place and I don’t believe that a person whatever his behavior can feel free to act as he want if the organization culture itself aren’t encouraging or at least blind eye to given behavior.

To provide training to people on such behavior is definitely great idea. it can be support to deal with that behavior

thank you for feedback :)

sel
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#6
To deal with them: interesting but how? , it suggest to be strong and subtle personality, because workers need to detect it as behavior and not independent reaction or kind of, and strong because this is the day to day cohabitation and the Incidence of such behavior on the others person cannot be avoided otherwise we will not find demotivation, procrastination….etc.
Those of us who are in positions of power can deal with mental illness in the workplace as described in articles such as What to Do When You Think an Employee May Need Mental Health Help and Bending Over Backwards.

Those of us who are not in positions of power can't deal with the illness but we can deal with the behaviors. Without knowing the behaviors it's difficult to address with specific suggestions. Can you describe the behavior?

I have a pretty good book titled Jerks At Work which is a collection of questions and answers from a syndicated columnist who is an organizational development consultant. Google Books has three of Dr. Lloyd's latest volumes (mine is old, copyright 1999). Dr. Lloyd addresses dealing with bully bosses in Chapter 3 of his 2008 volume of Jerks At Work. See page 50.
To leave a job may be solution but what is the likelihood to not find itself in the same situation in other job?

From another side, I’ve observed in the past, that some workers after struggling with such behavior from their managers just gave up and start to act differently:

-they say yes to get rest from boss and do what they want when he’s away,
-Stop to correct or address problems when they arise to avoid having conflict with the boss.
We have all sorts of coping mechanisms for dealing with difficult people who may or may not be ill. You have just described three of them:

1) Leave
2) Nod and smile, then do as we decide is best
3) Try to avoid issues by defusing them before they explode

When #3 can be done, I would think it's by far the best solution unless it disrupts the outcome. Let's remember this is about not just the boss and his/her direct employees, it's about outcomes and their affect on the customer, both internal (process that received the output of this process as their input) and external (the paying customer, the public/community).

Leaving is a form of self preservation that may or may not resolve the problem when:

1) It isn't about illness but it's about behavior, and leaving does not help us develop and hone our ability to deal with difficulty.
2) Different isn't always better, as you pointed out. If you leave you may still confront difficulty, but would be doing so without the allies you may have developed in your current position (have you any?)
From my side, when I’ve read it, I’ve thought about the organizational culture type and leadership versus management culture one may be the enabler that you point Jennifer Kirley: I cannot think that values, culture of organizations has nothing to do with such behavior or at least with its proliferation and the fact that one organization culture may be more conducive for such behavior to develop and be safe to spread its negative impact around him/her. Organization have policies, procedures, HR rules on place and I don’t believe that a person whatever his behavior can feel free to act as he want if the organization culture itself aren’t encouraging or at least blind eye to given behavior.

To provide training to people on such behavior is definitely great idea. it can be support to deal with that behavior
An NPR article discusses a recent report titled Do Nice Guys — and Gals — Really Finish Last? citing recent research indicating that mean people, both men and women, earn more. While you may click on the link in the article and see the report, you may be equally interested in the site's comments, people responding to the story with their own experiences.

So yes indeed, a difficult boss may be valued by upper management as Someone Who Gets Things Done. If this person is truly mentally ill (we may never really know, as mental illness is not like having a broken leg) Then there are things HR can, and should do and that does include training for employees.

If that can't happen/until there is resolution, there is no value to simply being a victim. Some behaviors may be addressed in various articled linked in a web site titled My Toxic Boss.

Be well! I hope this helps.
 
S

selena15

#7
Hi all

thank you Jennifer Kirley for all links, interesting

actualty to stay victim may be rare since most of people which face that would likely react as said priorly and may effect additional to themself the process or the output of activity. the fact that the nasty people are more valuable and get better result isn't so suprising, but it may think that there is a difference between tough, even nasty person which is getting thing done because finaly they are acting as this for the good reason, make thing done, the illness discribed within the article don't seem to me it has the same goals.


and it is seen maybe more in the discipline of the writter of the article. most of the time, there is resistence from the middle manageent to such process and its implementation and of course such message from the boss is received fro his staff which make the sox officer task difficult to not say more.

nice week end :)
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
#8
I want to disabuse anyone of the idea that the jerks (the sociopaths I identified earlier) get their comeuppance. I have written disparagingly in the past about two big-time CEOs who terrorized their employees for years and still ended up with cushy golden parachutes:

  • "Neutron Jack" Welch of General Electric
  • "Chainsaw Al" Dunlap of Sunbeam
The nicknames they earned pretty much give an idea of how they came across to many people - employees, suppliers, competitors, and customers. About the only group that didn't hate them were the investors in their companies because these guys single-mindedly pursued stock market gain over everything.

They were absolutely ruthless and many "quality issues" and scandals accompanied their reigns as corporate heads. They never acknowledged personal fault, but always pointed to some poor schnook as the goat to take the blame.

I'm sure armchair psychiatrists and psychologists could "diagnose" various mental conditions, but the important fact is their behavior, regardless of the underlying mental condition.

Neutron Jack, in particular, aroused my disgust as a quality professional because he continually bragged about how Six Sigma as practiced at GE saved "billions of dollars." The billions NEVER showed up on GE's annual report, simply because the billions of savings in one department were absorbed as costs by another department for a net savings of zero.
 
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