2 Ways to Stop an Office Bully (and How to Tell If It’s You)

By Wanda Thibodeaux TakingDictation.com

As much as professionals encourage each other to be nice, bullies are as easy to find in the office as they are on playgrounds. In fact, according to a 2017 survey from the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), bullying affects an “epidemic-level” 60.3 million American workers, with 9 percent of surveyed individuals saying they’ve experienced it in the last year or are currently going through it.

It might have many roots, but it’s no accident.

The problem, according to Niels Eék, psychologist and co-founder of mental wellbeing and self-development platform, Remente, can happen for a range of reasons, including personal insecurity. But Johnny Warström, CEO and Co-founder of interactive presentation tool Mentimeter, also points out that, according to a Harvard Business Review study, bosses who place a high value on their place in the hierarchy are likely to bully their employees that pose a threat to their status.

Bullying isn’t random,” Eék says, “but is calculating behavior […]. Focused on getting ahead, bullies exploit the weaknesses of others for their own gain, and many studies show that they tend to excel at office politics, allowing them to keep their jobs despite their behavior.”

And none of it bodes well for a company’s bottom line.

Workplace bullying can have a huge effect […], thrwarting company loyalty and commitment to the firm and their work,” Eék asserts. “People who are victims of bullying lose motivation due to feelings of isolation, unfair treatment and low self-esteem. This affects productivity and creates a hostile work environment, which has been linked to a rise in sick leave, staff turnover and costs to recruit and train new employees.”

And to clarify, the sick leave isn’t just people calling in because they don’t want to deal with the bully. Being a victim can cause real physical and psychological health problems, including panic attacks, increased stress and elevated blood pressure.

“[It] makes it near impossible to create a supportive and inclusive culture in which teams thrive,” says Warström. “Inevitably, performance is affected as people lose self-esteem and have trouble making decisions and concentrating on tasks. This is bound to impact company goals as employees struggle to perform at their best.”

What to do if someone else is the bully

Transparency can be your best weapon in the fight to keep bullying in check, according to Warström.

“By creating a culture where people are encouraged to address conflict and provide feedback immediately and directly – regardless of your status within the company – one is able to nip hostility in the bud and foster an environment where everyone’s voice is heard. This includes senior leaders openly admitting their shortcomings and taking steps to address them by incorporating feedback from their teams to do better.”

Eék similarly recommends clear communication and addressing the bully directly.

“[Try] the ‘when you said x, it made me feel x, and therefore x action happened’ method,” he advises. “It’s absolutely essential that you stand up for yourself and try to address the root cause, because bullies prey on those they think will let them get away with their behavior.”

What to do if the bully is you

Only a tiny percentage of people surveyed by WBI (0.3 percent, or 533,332 people) admitted to bullying. After all, most people want to assume that they are likeable, warm and fair. But Warström and Eék both say there are big warning signs that you’re coming off as a bully to others.

  • Nobody speaks up in your meetings (suggests that workers are afraid to voice their opinions around you)
  • Workers don’t look you in the eye
  • Employees consistently get advice elsewhere
  • You find yourself talking at employees, not to them; it’s difficult to receive feedback/suggestions and you prefer to give orders instead of working together for the best result
  • You interrupt others instead of actively listening
  • You blame others for mistakes instead of focusing on solutions

“To identify the reasons you bully, assess your habits and the trigger points,” says Eék. “Once you know where it comes from, it will become easier to manage. Then try to gain control of the situation by taking deep breaths or removing yourself from the situation until you can come back with a clear and calmer mindset. Finally, set yourself a manageable goal, such as complimenting one colleague per day or having regular check-ins with your team that include constructive feedback. If you think that you are struggling to move on by yourself, then do this with a trustworthy mentor.”

Regardless of who perpetrates, the bottom line is clear: Bullying is a choice, and at the end of the day, only the bully or your business can survive. Today is the day you ensure it’s the latter.

Pario Welcomes Andrew Brown to Calgary Office

Press Release:

Pario Engineering & Environmental Sciences LP (Pario), one of Canada’s top providers of specialized engineering and environmental services to the insurance and risk management industries, is pleased to announce the addition of Mr. Andrew Brown as Regional Manager, Western Canada (Forensic).

Mr. Brown comes to Pario after spending over 38 years providing consultation and forensic investigation for the electrical engineering and scientific fields. During his career, he has been involved in large scale electrical investigations, remediation, electrical accident investigation, application of high voltage techniques, and has managed numerous forensic, consulting, and testing teams operating across Canada, Europe, and America. Mr. Brown’s areas of expertise include electrical failure investigation, fire & explosion, bio mechanical, collision reconstruction, industrial accidents, and slip, trip & fall. forensic and Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA), high-voltage electrical engineering, and leadership.

Mr. Brown holds a Higher Technician Diploma (HND) and a Forensic Sciences Diploma. Further, Mr. Brown is registered with the Engineering Council (UK) as a Chartered Engineer (C.Eng),is a Registered European Engineer (EUR ING), andis a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers (SM IEEE) active on developing a number of IEEE standards. Mr. Brown also holds his IOSH Managing Safely Certificate (UK), JEHSC certification (Canada), and OSHA certification (US).

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Mr. Brown to the Pario team,” says Martin Grech, Senior Vice President of National Operations for Pario. “Mr. Brown’s specialized experience makes him an excellent addition to our roster of specialists. He will be building our Western Engineering team in order to offer our clientele in the region a continued focus on exceptional customer service.”

Based out of Pario’s Calgary location, Mr. Brown can be contacted at 403 228 5800 or cell 403 478 9482, or by email at andy.brown@pario.ca.

For more information, please contact:

Len Copp
T: 780.930.5190
E: len.copp@pario.ca
Bikram Daulay
Senior Vice President, Business Development
T: 780.930.5321
E: bikram.daulay@scm.ca
How to Clear Out Your Workspace for a Fresh Start in 2019

How to Clear Out Your Workspace for a Fresh Start in 2019

By Wanda ThibodeauxTakingDictation.com

There comes a point where items get in the way and just take up space instead of helping you be more productive. Not only that, but studies indicate that companies with less materialistic bosses fare better overall, and that clutter in an office or home can throw out a negative message about your personality. And lastly, there’s a trend toward minimalism, not only because people want to clear their heads and focus on what matters, but because it’s just too expensive for an individual or company to house a bunch of extra possessions.

So let’s accept for a moment that you know stuff has to go. How do you decide what to toss/donate and what stays?

3 feet. This strategy has you put everything in the center of a room, Tetris style. The rule is that you must leave 3 feet of space out from every wall. If items don’t fit, you have to make some choices about what to pitch or move elsewhere. The strategy is helpful because it forces you to see what is most essential and consider whether the larger pieces in the room could be swapped for something smaller based on the way you really need to work. It’s ideal for smaller spaces like your bedroom or an individual office. If you’d rather not do heavy lifting for this one, a computer program or a few paper cutouts to scale can let you play around.

6-months. This rule says that, if you haven’t used an item in 6 months, it’s not helping you and should be donated or tossed. Seasonal items or ones with sentimental value can be exceptions, but you should consider whether they can be stored in another area and ensure you don’t have more than one of anything. Many times, snapping a photo of a sentimental item or considering how it is going to help or bring pleasure to someone else can help you let go.

No duplicates. Multiples of items often accumulate because of gifting or upgrades. Ask yourself which one you always reach for and get rid of the others. If borrowing has caused duplication, return what you borrowed.

The core. What’s most essential to a process or concept? Ask yourself if you’re keeping things just because they are nice to have or because they actually contribute to what you’re doing. Ditch anything that doesn’t align with your values and goals.

Purpose. Related to the core above, everything in your space should have a designated purpose. Don’t keep items you might use–good intentions often go nowhere without a concrete plan. Be able to identify why everything in your space is there and know when it’s going to offer functionality.

Alternate access. This strategy looks at whether there’s a public version of what you use available. For instance, maybe it’s cost effective to rent something for a brief period instead of keeping it, or maybe you can get books digitally or from the library.

Joneses. For this strategy, you purposely compare yourself to others, not to lose your individuality, but to think critically about standards versus what you need. For instance, do you really need to stuff six chairs in an office when most people only have two? Look around and observe what others do to see if maybe there’s a better way to manage the space.

New is a cue. Whenever someone gives you something or you buy something new, that’s your cue that something else in the space should go. I use this one to keep my kids’ toy collection from getting out of control or age-inappropriate, but it works well for just about anything,  including your office wardrobe or technology.

Break the group. Sometimes we hold on to a bunch of items because we associate them with other items. For example, you might see a dozen books as a unit because they are on the same topic, or because you got them all around the same time in your life. Ask yourself why those items have to stay together. The odds are good that they don’t.

Some of these strategies might feel more natural than others, but using them all makes it more likely that you’ll be more critical in your downsizing. Once you’re clutter free, your only job is to resist the urge to fill the new open space!

Want to Build Trust in the New Year? Show Kindness in These 66 Ways

By Wanda Thibodeaux TakingDictation.com

Being a great business leader or team member takes a lot of traits and abilities–grit, curiosity, intelligence, patience, for example. But kindness is the glue that makes people stick around you. It’s what allows people to let down their guard to trust and connect with you for both better work and higher quality of life. That’s what makes committing to compassion one of the most meaningful resolutions you can make.

You can show kindness to those around you if you

  1. Bring them a coffee or treat.
  2. Extend a deadline if possible when stress escalates.
  3. Check in regularly just to see how their doing, rather than for a project update.
  4. Share an inspiring book or quote.
  5. Offer genuine praise or thanks, especially when it’s not expected.
  6. Ask what they need.
  7. Introduce them to someone who can help.
  8. Leave your phone off or out of reach when you’re with them.
  9. Keep communal spaces clean.
  10. Donate your raise toward employee training, bonuses, or pay increases, or reevaluate your benefits package to better meet immediate needs.
  11. Be realistic about quotas and the circumstances workers try to reach them in; set the bar  high, but don’t let numbers give a false impression of the employee experience or ability.
  12. Hold open doors.
  13. Give them a few fidgets to keep at their desk.
  14. Tell a brief story that demonstrates empathy.
  15. Cater a lunch or let everyone have a potluck.
  16. Be honest about your own mistakes so they know it’s OK to make them, too.
  17. Ask them about the good that happened in their day.
  18. Be more generous and flexible with breaks.
  19. Donate some vacation time.
  20. Shut down gossip or ask for facts/sources.
  21. Offer easy access to music they like and encourage them to listen.
  22. Let them know before supplies run out.
  23. Help for a few minutes on one of their projects (especially if they have to stay late).
  24. Invite them to take a walk, grab lunch or do another activity with you.
  25. Pay for a leisure membership, conference, tank of gas or trip.
  26. Make it easier to work remotely, especially in emergencies.
  27. Mentor or give unsolicited support, no strings attached.
  28. Leave private notes of encouragement on their desk.
  29. Let them know as soon as you can if there’s a different, better position within the company they’d thrive in.
  30. Reply to correspondence quickly.
  31. Be a listening ear in moments of anxiety or depression.
  32. Share rewards programs you know about within the community or online.
  33. Put fun activities and games in the break room.
  34. Take care of yourself–unhealthy, sleepy bosses usually are grumpy bosses!
  35. Apologize as soon as possible if you’re wrong and change your behavior to prove you’re sincere.
  36. Make sure the office has tools to make others more comfortable, such as a few extra cushions, personal fans or weighted lap blankets.
  37. Make sure they get training.
  38. Send them home early or surprise them with a random call to take the day off.
  39. Share positive feedback with their direct manager if it isn’t you, ideally in writing.
  40. Give their desk plants a drink.
  41. Ask for their insights so they know you value their opinions and expertise.
  42. Hold the elevator.
  43. Make sure they get away from their desk for lunch.
  44. Tape money to the vending machine.
  45. Keep a bowl of healthy snacks or fruit in busy office areas.
  46. Let them go ahead of you in the cafeteria, on the stairs, etc.
  47. Talk about what they do for you, not what their title is.
  48. Let them completely finish what they are saying, even if you have a good idea of what their message will be, disagree or are in a hurry.
  49. Lend out an extra umbrella.
  50. Promote their side hustle to those in your network.
  51. Give the benefit of the doubt; instead of assuming someone is unintelligent because they don’t automatically know what you know, assume they can learn and improve.
  52. Go out of your way to make sure everyone has the opportunity to participate.
  53. Offer a ride home, especially in bad weather.
  54. Arrive on time.
  55. Volunteer to help with non-work jobs that can pile up and eat free time, like grabbing their dry cleaning if it’s on your way to the office, unpacking after a move, etc.
  56. Leave coupons on the main bulletin board.
  57. Bring in a therapy animal (consider allegories) or other stress relief entertainment.
  58. Provide a way for them to catch a catnap without judgment.
  59. Tweak your language to use more inclusive phrases and pronouns.
  60. Alert them to fun after-work activities.
  61. Keep your word.
  62. Arrange one-on-one time where they can voice concerns and share ideas.
  63. Celebrate milestones.
  64. Cut to the chase and stick to the agenda.
  65. Tell it like it is right away instead of sugarcoating.
  66. Clarify how their efforts help you or make an impact and say thank you.

This might look like a big list, but the reality is that it only scratches the surface of all the ways you can show your team a little grace. Adopting even some of these strategies might kill stress, lower absenteeism, improve morale and spike productivity. If you have additional, unique ways you show you care, leave them in the comments below to inspire others!

Canada’s first medical pot coverage plan and savings calculator launched

BuyWell.com, the first fully integrated Health and Wellness Marketplace in Canada, has introduced BuyWell Care. The new program is the country’s first guaranteed issue Medical Cannabis Coverage Plan and Medical Cannabis Savings Calculator.

By inputting the form of cannabis and dosage the calculator recommended to them into the BuyWell Care calculator, patients can determine how much they can save on their medical cannabis while purchasing coverage plans through the online application process. The coverage included in the program includes treatments that use cannabis oils, dried flowers, and gel capsules.

“BuyWell Care’s inclusion of coverage for medical cannabis is a true example of the paradigm shift that’s sweeping through the medical landscape,” said Dr. Ira Price, MD, FRCPC, and medical director of Synergy Health Services. “It’s a breath of fresh air.”

Research and findings from Synergy Health Services suggest that BuyWell Care Consumers may realize savings of up to $5,700 per year on their medical cannabis, depending on their province of residence.

“For hard-working Canadians who rely on medical cannabis as part of their treatment regimen, BuyWell Care’s Medical Cannabis Coverage Plan provides a revolutionary way to save money on their expensive medication,” said Amanda LeBlanc, co-founder of BuyWell.com.

Buyers in Ontario can immediately avail of coverage; for those in other provinces, coverages will be available beginning in Q1 of 2019.

Source: Life | Health Professional

Want to Know If Someone Is Trustworthy? Here’s what to look for

Want to Know If Someone Is Trustworthy? Here’s what to look for

By Wanda Marie Thibodeaux | INC.

These 15 signs are dead giveaways that you’re dealing with a keeper:


1. They are consistent.

A trustworthy person will use roughly the same behavior and language in any situation. They have the self-control to maintain character and follow through on what they say they’ll do, even when they are tempted to walk it back. They won’t wear different masks or pretend they’re someone they’re not just to impress. Switching gears comes from having learned reliable new information, not from self-serving whims. What’s more, what they say matches what you hear from others.


2. They show compassion and humility.

Both these traits demonstrate that the person can think of others well and doesn’t consider themselves as more important than anyone else. Because they are more outwardly focused, they’re less likely to step on your toes or betray you to get something they need or want.


3. They respect boundaries.

Trustworthy individuals don’t try to impose their will on others because they don’t feel the need to control those around them. They avoid bullying and acknowledge that no means no.


4. They compromise and don’t expect something for nothing.

Small sacrifices show that the individual recognizes that trust is a two-way street. They’re willing to give a little to get something back later. And if they do ask for something, they’re sure to demonstrate the value of their request.


5. They’re relaxed (and so are you).

A person who is faking it and who is more likely to behave in shady ways usually will display some signs of anxiety, such as agitated body language. If the person seems at ease, they likely have nothing to hide and are being honest and open with you. You’ll likely feel calm, too, because you won’t be subconsciously picking up on and mirroring back negative cues.


6. They are respectful when it comes to time.

Trustworthy people do their best not to be late or cancel plans at the last minute because they know doing so inconveniences you and violates promises. They won’t try to rush or drag things out for their own benefit.


7. They show gratitude.

Trustworthy individuals are willing to admit they can’t do it all alone and value teamwork. They give credit where it’s due, even if it means they don’t advance as quickly or shine as much themselves.


8. They give up all the facts, even if it hurts.

Truth and transparency matters to trustworthy people. They won’t lie by omission or fudge data. They will give up even the information that could put their reputation at risk or create conflict, believing that those conflicts can be solved with good empathy and communication.


9. They confide in you.

Confiding in someone, exposing faults and all, involves a certain amount of vulnerability. So when someone confides in you, it demonstrates that the individual already trusts you and that they want you to be open with them, too.


10. They aren’t materialistic or desperate for money.

While there’s zero wrong with having nice things, trustworthy people don’t put stuff ahead of people. They’re willing to give up what they have (or could have) to help. Financial stability facilitates trust because it reduces the temptation to treat others poorly out of the need for self-preservation.


11. They’re right a lot.

Because trustworthy people value truth, they are willing to do their homework. They do the research that leads to verifiable conclusions, so they have a track record of having the right answer.


12. They skip the water cooler gossip.

Trustworthy individuals don’t like to make assumptions about anything or anybody. They prefer to get information from the source and to let the source speak for themselves. They avoid rumors because they know that rumors usually include negativity that tears people down instead of building them up. When they do talk, their language is empowering and respectful.


13. They’re learners.

Individuals who are worth your trust know they don’t have all the answers. They look for ways to learn and improve themselves constantly, and through that process, they’re willing to share the resources and facts they find.


14. You know who they’re connected to, and they try to connect you.

Both these elements show that the other person sees you as important. They want you to be part of their regular social group and meet the people you need to succeed. Others can affirm or contradict what you know about the individual, too. Subsequently, the more people the individual introduces you to, the more likely it is that they’re not hiding who they are.


15. They’re there for you and others.

Trustworthy people will listen to and support you even when they don’t need something from you. They do their best to be available to help, whatever you might be going through.

Source: INC,

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