Printwear

October '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Vince DiCecco is a dynamic and sought-after seminar speaker and author with a unique perspective on busi- ness development and management subjects, primarily in the decorated and promotional apparel industries. With over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and training, he is presently an independent consultant to various apparel decorating businesses looking to im- prove profitability and sharpen their competitive edge. Visit his new website at www.ypbt.com, and send email to vince@ypbt.com. YOUR PERSONAL BUSINESS TRAINER B Y V I N C E D I C E C C O A s I write this column, it is the start of a new school year across the US— a fresh start, a new beginning. For some, it's not the happiest of reunions. There's no doubt you've heard news stories about the growing plague of bullying and its damaging effects on young children and teenagers. Bullying can occur just about anywhere: on the playground, in the classroom, and via social media sites. Unless you've personally experienced this violation, you may not realize just how devastating it can be. Bullying is repeated aggressive behavior that can be physical, ver- bal, or emotional. The victim can be consumed with feelings of hurt, anger, helpless- and hopelessness, isolation and withdrawal, and even guilt that the negative attention is somehow their fault. (It is not.) Sometimes, the office or the shop can feel like school. Perhaps, you have run into or observed a workplace bully. This is someone who constantly criticizes, aggressively points out mistakes or re- fuses to be a team player. Of course, dealing with a bully in the workplace can be a real challenge. But what if the bully in your shop is you, the business owner. Maybe you don't even realize how hurtful your words and actions can be in the eyes and psyches of others. In fact, what prompted me to address this month's topic was a first-hand account of an owner-bully at a prospective client's shop. Now, I can appreciate that trying to run a profitable business in the current economy is inherently stressful. Sometimes that stress turns into insensitive and demeaning orders barked at shop em- ployees—unintentionally and without malice. But, when that tone and behavioral pattern is taken with suppliers, service, and even customers, that approach will likely result in the demise of that en- terprise. Even if this side only appears on very rare occasions, the time to do something about it is now. DIAGNOSING THE PROBLEM According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, 72 percent of bullies are bosses. That tough, uncompromising, bulldozer approach that garnered initial success doesn't work in the long term as the business grows and requires higher-level management skills like team build- ing, infusing esprit de corps, and creating synergy and collaboration. In fact, that bullying culture won't just keep a company from grow- ing—it can lead to its downfall. Recently, a New York Times article reported on the work climate at online giant Amazon and its high expectations for its workers. In the exposé, there were claims of people cry- ing at their desk, being ordered to pull four all-nighters in a row, and instructions to "rip apart" coworkers' ideas at meetings, to name a few. John Rossman, a former executive, called it "the greatest place I hate to work." So, why is bullying becoming more per- vasive and occurring with greater frequency these days? In The Culture Engine, author Chris Edmonds says, "I believe the basic driv- er of bullying is to make the bully feel 'better than' their target. Bullying boils down to the bully's desire to have power and control over others in the workplace." Other reasons that fuel the workplace bully are jealousy of oth- ers, wishing to make themselves more pop- The Business Owning Bully How to recognize if you're one and how to reform yourself before your business fails 18 || P R I N T W E A R O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

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