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S1E22: Spotting good and bad leadership in a workplace with Stan Kimer

In this captivating episode of Let’s break up – Toxic workplace Stories, your hosts Gina and Nicola sit down with Stan C. Kimer, an expert in personal growth, business efficiency, and employee development. With a focus on toxic workplaces, this episode delves deep into the crucial topic of spotting good and bad leadership within organizations.

Stan’s impressive background includes serving as the Director of Global Sales Operations at IBM, where he played a pivotal role in building the company’s highly successful Global Sales Operations unit. He spearheaded the consolidation of thousands of employees across various divisions and geographic units, resulting in substantial cost reductions and improved service levels. However, Stan’s expertise extends beyond operations and efficiency; he is also recognized for his exceptional skills in employee development, LGBT diversity management, and organizational effectiveness.

Join us as Stan shares his invaluable insights on identifying the characteristics of effective leadership and its positive impact on employee engagement and business success. With his passion for empowering individuals and teams, Stan firmly believes that providing the right tools to employees can drive their career growth and ultimately contribute to the overall success of the organization.

Throughout the episode, Stan engages in a thought-provoking discussion about the telltale signs of both good and bad leadership, drawing from his extensive experience and deep understanding of organizational dynamics. From fostering employee morale and career mapping to maximizing the potential of diverse workforces, Stan’s expertise shines through his practical advice and engaging anecdotes.


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Oh yeah.Speaker 2: 53:32

All these different shirts. No, that was the other Brian. That was T-shirt Brian Oh.Speaker 1: 53:37

T-shirt Brian. Oh my God, yeah, brian with the insurgents was very funny.Speaker 2: 53:41

Yeah, um, we had the lady with four million jobs. Do you remember that one Mm? hmm, i know Where she had like what was it Like? 47.Speaker 1: 53:54

Like her first. Like her first line out of the box was like I’ve had 46 jobs in the past 30 years and we’re like what.Speaker 2: 54:05

We’ve got Amy, who talks to us about toxic positivity, which is pretty cool, and then we had Stu, who was our most recent recording, yeah, talking about leadership, which I’m pretty bloody excited about.Speaker 1: 54:20

And now so we’ll be doing some more interviews, but also sprinkling in some of the research episodes.Speaker 2: 54:25

Yeah, and then we’ll be doing some research episodes is going to like is our next kind of step right? That’s our evolution.Speaker 1: 54:33

And we’ll see what happens. We’ll see what you guys like more And if you have any comments, thoughts, reactions, just reach out to us.Speaker 2: 54:39

Yeah, We really appreciate everybody’s comments. Yeah, We’ve had. I just, I just get so excited when someone comments, So if you could comment like like subscribe, share follow all those good things. Come join us on LinkedIn. Come join us on.Speaker 3: 54:55

Instagram, yeah, yeah Find us a good place.Speaker 4: 54:57

We’d be happy to have you.Speaker 2: 54:59

And we’ll see you in season two. Couple weeks, yeah, yeah, a couple weeks. Thank you for joining us today. If you would like to share your story, we would love to hear from you.Speaker 1: 55:10

Also, leaving a review helps us create more content because it shows us there’s an interest in this topic.Speaker 2: 55:16

For those of our listeners who do better with reading, we have closed caption available on YouTube.Speaker 1: 55:20

See you next week, same time and same place.

Watch this Episode

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Gina  00:00

This podcast may contain adult themes.

Nicola  00:03

This podcast is for entertainment purposes only.

Gina  00:06

The views and opinions in this podcast are expressly when I get to the workplace. I like to fuck shit up. Honestly, every time I try to do something fun or exciting, you make it not that way. Hey,

Nicola  00:21

are you tired of toxic workplaces and the negativity that comes with them,

Gina  00:25

we hear you and we’re here to shake things up. Welcome to Let’s break up toxic workplace stories, the podcast that’s all about breaking up with workplace toxicity.

Nicola  00:35

I’m Nicola and I’m here with my co host Gina. Together, we’re going to explore real life experiences of workplace toxicity and offer a sense of encouragement and unity.

Gina  00:45

That’s right, we’re tackling the tough topic of negativity in the workplace.

Nicola  00:50

So join us each week as we explore the various forms of toxicity in the workplace. We’ll be interviewing guests to share their experiences and offer practical solutions for dealing with workplace toxicity.

Gina  01:02

Let’s break up is quickly becoming the go to source for anyone looking to share and then ditch the drama and help you break up with those toxic workplaces. Thanks for tuning in. And don’t forget to like, subscribe and tell all your friends

Nicola  01:16

in this week’s episode.

Gina  01:20

Honestly, we really, really, really need people to like, subscribe, and comment, even if you don’t want to comment, like, just like and subscribe. Yeah, I agree, like, give us a rating because it’s gonna really help us because I think we’ve talked about this before. But we, we did not realise quite how much work this would be. And while we’re having fun,

Nicola  01:52

it’s still a lot of work. It’s still a

Gina  01:55

lot of time and effort. And I think, you know, we all were both single moms. And we both have full time jobs, in addition to other streams of income that we do have to manage. So it would just really be so helpful for us. You don’t have to write anything, just give us a star rating. It helps and subscribe today, hey. Because I know, I’m tired. I know, Nickolas tired. We’re all like kind of burning the candle at both ends. Say, help how?

Nicola  02:34

You know what I would I would absolutely use any financing or monetary gain from this just to get someone to edit the videos.

Gina  02:43

I mean, it wouldn’t even go into our pockets, it would go to somebody to like a sound engineer who actually knows what they’re doing, which only means that the podcast quality will be even better. Yeah, like a million times better. I mean, you’re doing a good job, but you’re not your train staff. You’re not a trained sound engineer. You’re just like kind of doing the best he can.

Nicola  03:11

With what I got.

Gina  03:13

Yeah, and it’s way better than anything I could ever do. Hi, Stan.

Stan  03:18

Hey, good morning, and good afternoon.

Nicola  03:24

How are you? How, how has your day been going so far?

Stan  03:28

So far? So good. I got everything done today that I wanted to get done. And then I’m excited to do this. And I’ve been jotting down a few more stories to share during Art. Yay. Yeah.

Gina  03:39

So Stan, why don’t you give us a little introduction as to who you are, and why you thought it would be either a a good thing or be a fun time to come on our podcast. Well, Nicola gets ready for work.

Stan  03:55

Okay, well, Stan Kimer. And I am now the president and founder of total engagement consulting by Kimer. But before I started my company, I spent 31 years working in corporate America for a very large company. And, you know, I’ve had some really good experiences about 85, I’d say 85 or 90% of my experience at work has been good. But I’ve also had those horrible managers that have created a toxic environment. So I thought it’d be really fun to share some time with you and talk about you know, how managers and executive leaders can actually contribute and cause a toxic environment and also how good leaders can create a wonderful environment. And then I retired 12 years ago after 31 years, and formed my own consultancy around diversity, equity and inclusion and career development. And a lot of times that also ties to building inclusive workplace cultures and healthy workplace cultures. So I love this area. have discussions.

Gina  05:01

Okay. And can you just tell us like what industry you were in? Were you in like technology? Finance? What? What was it?

Stan  05:10


Gina  05:12

All right, I was right the first time. Okay.

Stan  05:15

And I worked in every job that in the in the large company, I worked in finance, sales, marketing, HR. So it’s fun to have like a broad experience.

Gina  05:25

Yeah. Yeah, of course. All right. So why don’t you give us a couple of stories that demonstrate a shitty boss.

Stan  05:37

Okay, we’ll start with that. And then also, I can talk about bad executive leadership, but

Gina  05:42

well, any of all of that. Okay, some of that, and then we’ll, we’ll end it with the good stuff that’s happened to you. So everyone’s feels positive.

Stan  05:53

Okay, good. I’ll tell you three stories, you know, will be about individual managers. And then one will be about collective executive leadership, but probably the worst. The worst time I had was with a manager who basically anything I did was not good enough for her. That you know, everything was criticised and torn apart. And there was one time when the senior leader of our whole function, it’s like my boss’s boss’s boss’s boss, you know, wanted me to create a online metrics and measurement system. So he could go online, and look at each of his direct reports and their major metrics that he was tracking, and that he can go on to look at anytime he wanted. And so he said, Can you get this done in a month? And I said, Sure. And then he said, Can you show me a prototype in three days, and I prepared a prototype. And I took it to my manager, and she said, you know, this piece is a piece, this thing is a piece of shit. But there is no time to do anything with it. Because of that the meeting with the big boss was in two hours. So we bring it brought it in. And I showed him where I was going with the prototype. And he said, this is beautiful. It’s exactly what I was looking for. And this happened over and over again, the senior leadership in my group thought I did great work, and loved everything I did. But my immediate manager did nothing but criticise and cut down every single thing I did. And she even lowered my performance evaluation, which impacted a year end bonus.

Gina  07:33

Yeah, why would? Okay, so a little a couple questions. What do you think the psychology behind that? None of us are psychologists or psychiatrists or therapists or any kind, but in your own opinion, Stan, why do you think she was doing that? Do you think maybe she felt threatened by you?

Stan  07:53

She might have felt threatened by me. But the thing is, is I wanted to be a real loyal employee, and that if I do good things that it makes her look good to, so it wouldn’t make sense. But you know, so why

Gina  08:06

do you think she was that way towards you? Why do you think she was kind of being negative towards you?

Stan  08:13

Oh, actually, when several people approached her, you know, she tried to make excuses. Like she said, her parents weren’t very loving and caring when she was growing up. And she wait

Gina  08:23

a second, wait a second. Timeout. So her behaviour, let me just understand, so our listeners can understand her behaviour towards you. made other people kind of say, Wait, what’s going on here? Why are you so put in whatever word mean, nasty to Stan. And her response was she had a traumatic childhood?

Stan  08:49

Yeah, she had no, yes. And what’s interesting is she only had two direct reports she had me and I had a team of like, a, and she had another manager who had a team of eight. And, you know, I lasted six months, he only lasted three months longer. So, you know, she drove both of her direct report managers away with her awful style of manage because

Gina  09:14

she had a traumatic childhood. I would like to just point out that most people do have especially like, you know, our generation, like, I’m 43 You’re not in my generation, but I but my parents were in your generation, right? So it’s like, everybody’s got trauma. We all especially I feel like it’s only like now starting to get hopefully get a little bit better. Nicola and I were just talking about it before you came on, of breaking those generational curses and parenting, but I feel like at that point in time, because what was this like the 80s

Stan  09:53

Ah, actually, it was like, this bad experience was in the early 90s.

Gina  09:59

Okay, So, yeah, so face of way, it’s all in that same kind of timeframe. And it’s like, we all fucking had traumatic childhood. Love it. Not an excuse. Hello, like you don’t bring your childhood to work with you.

Nicola  10:17

You are not children either. So who gives a fuck? If you didn’t have a loving childhood? That doesn’t mean she treats you like shit?

Stan  10:23

Yeah. And you know, she could she was trying to make excuses like, Oh, I’m not going to be a nurturing manager who cares about her people,

Gina  10:31

which was fine. That’s a style but don’t like come gunning for So did she do this too? I’m curious. Did she do the like demotion or What? What? I forgot the word you called it with your evaluation? Did she lower both of your evaluations yourself and the other manager or just yours?

Stan  10:51

Well, I don’t know if she lowered the other manager or not. But, you know, he was even more experienced than me. He was an older gentleman who had like 30 years of management experience. He thought maybe he could outlive to outlast her. And he just got totally frustrated, too, that even though he knew what he was doing, as an experienced manager, she would question everything he did. And we would share and compare notes. And, you know, he was hoping to, you know, kind of survive, but he just had it after a while too. So I mean,

Gina  11:22

I think once. Yeah, like, I think with experience, it either gives you a lot more patience. Or if it gets you the, to the point where you’re like, I don’t need to fucking deal with this. I know what I’m doing. I don’t need someone questioning me all the time. So I think it can go one of two ways. And they’re both like kind of an extreme. While she sounds like she sucks, do you know what happened to her?

Nicola  11:46

Wait, can I ask maybe a little bit of a controversial question was, what did she dislike you? Because you have a different sexual orientation?

Stan  11:57

That might have been part of it? Because at that time, I was very active as an LGBT leader in the workplace.

Nicola  12:06

Oh, nice. That would have been like, Oh, hot button. Topic.

Gina  12:10

Eight still wasn’t totally normal yet. Yeah.

Stan  12:14

But she didn’t really mention it. And

Gina  12:17

I’m gonna mention it, Stan, you’re too nice, because that will be loved. She’s probably at least smart enough to be like, I can’t mention that. I don’t like him because he has a different sexual orientation.

Nicola  12:29

Oh, no, nothing gays. I wanted to catch it. Yeah. She’s coming in. And

Stan  12:38

actually, you know, you asked about what might have happened with her I have? Well, I might need to check in with some of my old employees. Because what happened is after this other gentleman, and I kind of left him shipped. Yeah. And then all of these, you know, I had a team of eight and, and then he had a team of eight. Like, I think all 16 ended up reporting to her directly. Because, right, because she couldn’t find anybody who would, you know, kind of manage half the group. Yeah. All right. Oops.

Gina  13:10

Yeah. I mean, we’re only one story in and what Yeah, all right. What’s your next story hit us. Okay.

Stan  13:17

The next story well, actually was kind of interesting, because he was at the joke about him too, because everybody else in the area could not stand up. But this was very early in my career. And when he first met me, I was always look, I always looked young for my age. So I was like, a staff level person that you usually get promoted to that level when you’re like 28, or 29. And I probably looked about 23. And the first thing he said it was my when he became a manager, you look, you’re a little bit young to be a staff person. And, and then he kind of hinted that he was the best employee that IBM ever had, and that he would that no one would ever get promoted faster than him. So it’s almost like he was the prototype. And

Gina  14:03

I’m sorry, I didn’t I didn’t know you had oh my

Nicola  14:06

god, Kindle of technology.

Gina  14:10

Or like, I didn’t know you had like David’s Michelangelo working for you.

Nicola  14:16

What a treat. I mean,

Stan  14:19

when anyway, his last, I’m gonna mention his last name, because I know he’s deceased by now. But his last name was hark. And so we call them her harpies. Everybody called the behind. Yeah. And he would smoke this is when smoking is allowed in the office. He would this is when smoking would be allowed in his in the in your offices.

Nicola  14:45

And this was my worst error ever.

Stan  14:48

He was laying back in his chair in his shirt with like, come up, and you could see his belly and his cigarette ashes would like fall on his belly. I mean,

Gina  14:58

was he overweight?

Stan  15:00

likely, I mean, he was pretty medium, but he’s had a big belly.

Gina  15:05

So I like to have a full visual. That’s why I asked like, I like to have the visual in my head of like, like a

Nicola  15:11

little bit of like a hairy stomach sticking out of the shoe. Like,

Gina  15:17

yeah, what are straining a little bit? And he’s like,

Stan  15:22

Yeah, you got, but with this manager every time I did really good work, he took total credit. Now the manager before him, you know, every time I did good work, and that would get praise, he would say, Well, my guy Stan did this. And he would always pass on credit. Right, this particular manager would always take all full credit, and then the times where he screwed up, he would blame me.

Gina  15:51

Not not shocking, if someone’s gonna be like to face like that. They’re going to do it in both directions. So

Stan  15:59

and then the worst thing of it was one horrible experiences. We’re working on a project. And he knew that I had vacation scheduled, I had a flight. I think I was going to Mexico. Okay, he made me stay in the office, and he would not let me leave. And I ended up missing my flight. So let’s go to Mexico eventually. Yes, but it took me, it took me three flights, I missed two flights. Then I came in the next day, and the oxygen mask will work since I missed my flight. And I’ll take that. And he had me late again. And I missed it a second time. So you know, just total in consideration for you know, me as a person.

Gina  16:39

So he is dead now. Right? We know he’s dead. Oh,

Stan  16:43

and here’s one other thing he did. So I basically let it be known that, you know, I’m not happy reporting to you, I’d like to like move to a new job. And so I had a manager who wanted me to come work for him. And he called up, harped and said, You know, I really would like Stan to work for him for you. And I told her that I’d love to go work in that job. And heart actually told him that I was not interested. And that got back to me. So he actually lied to Okay.

Gina  17:17

My same question. Why do you think he was doing this to you?

Stan  17:22

I might think he was I think he could have been totally unaware that he did this. He might. Or maybe he didn’t like the fact that I got promoted to the level that I got to quicker than he got to that level.

Gina  17:38

It’s probably more like that because it’s more when people in my opinion, when people react in such like ridiculous manners the way Fat Man Harp was. I feel like it’s, it’s, it’s not really personal to you, it says more about them. So he probably felt, you know, His ego was bruised because he was no longer the prototype.

Stan  18:03

And the interesting thing is with both of these cases, it wasn’t like, I couldn’t stand this person and everybody else thought they were great. It’s everybody else fully agreed that this manager is horrible. You know, in both cases, I wasn’t like an outlier. It was everyone else sure way.

Gina  18:24

Yeah. Whereas like, where Nicola and I met? I would I thought that our CEO was insane and didn’t know what the fuck she was doing. And I was the outlier. Oh,

Nicola  18:38

I’m not gonna lie. I was I was the outlier too, because I agreed with you. It’s just that no one ever spoke about it.

Stan  18:44

No reason why is probably everybody else want to kiss the CEOs X? Yes. Being out, you know, see that was the you know, kind of like, oh, yeah, they’re all going to you know, tell her whatever she wants to hear where you two might want to wouldn’t be honest. And you know, because they’re kissing her ass they’re not going to get in the boat with managers. We’re not that high level.

Gina  19:07

Right And towards the end I started saying like, this is not with with our CEO that Nicola where Nicola and I met, I would say like, she doesn’t know what she’s doing. Like I had to hold my tongue like when I heard her say I’m okay taking a total loss on this project. Like In what world does a business person say with Hale loss? Yep. That I’m okay losing money on this, where I I still to this day and like renders me speechless. Like, the worst case scenario is you break even is is is still in my opinion, a loss like you always want to profit. Of course, there are going to be times where you take losses of course there will be time, you know, that are unforeseen, but my point was, is that she she knew we weren’t Ready to do something and she was going to do it anyway, being okay to take a loss, instead of waiting another three to six months making sure everything was correct. And lowering the chance of having any loss.

Stan  20:15

Yeah, well, maybe she knew that. Hey, if there was a loss that she could find people to blame. Yeah, no. No, yeah. Okay.

Gina  20:27

Go for it. When it comes out in the bottom line, because it’s all revenue is all money. Maybe it’s only going to hurt her and her business and her profit.

Nicola  20:38

Bizarre. Okay, so anyway, so let’s circle back all the way back to Stan Stan Rooney. Tell us a little bit more about so. What? I’m curious to know, though those first two stories. Have you seen any red flags prior to kind of the key parts of the story?

Stan  20:59

In the, in the first case, not really. The second case, I did see some red flags. Because, you know, HAARP had just moved to this location that take the job and was having a house house built. And I’d be in this office, and I would see how he was like, belittling his wife, you know, because she was like, they’re meeting with the builders and, you know, making decisions. And he was like, treating her like, she couldn’t do it, that he had to, like, be there for every decision. You know, when I saw the way she was, like, almost minimising her. Because I was like, you know, gosh, if I had a wife, you know, I’d let her go ahead and decide all this house stuff. Well, I’m, like, great, but go do it. Yeah, like,

Nicola  21:43

I’m busy at work. Yeah, but you know, go do your make work.

Stan  21:49

Well, smoking his cigarette with his belly shuttling, you know, belittling his wife, and I’d be there. Ah,

Gina  21:56

and was this is was this also in the early 90s?

Stan  22:00

No, this was in the early 80s.

Gina  22:03

Okay, so not excusable. But I think the behaviour back then, was probably more acceptable of a man belittling their wife, even though it’s completely not okay, at any point in time. But I think there were still like, very traditional roles in the early 80s. Because like, my mom stayed home. You know, I grew up in the 80s, my mom stayed home, my dad went to work. And it was basically like, my dad’s way or the highway, you know, he had the budget. It was very traditional. It wasn’t like, there was nothing towards tour about it. But he just the roles were super traditional, but still nobody. Why would you do that in front of your employees? your direct reports?

Stan  22:48

That’s so yeah, you know, you’re sitting in the office having a half hour meeting, you know, and you know, he’s gonna be calling his wife every 20 minutes or 15 minutes talking to her about the latest building thing. So you know, it’s like, you’re you talk for 10 minutes, and he talks to his wife, then you talk? Yeah, he kind of,

Gina  23:06

it’s so that’s so inappropriate. You don’t need to know. Do you think that was? Would you think that was a way of like him trying to belittle you like, Oh, my wife is doing this? We’re gonna you’re building our dream home? The Oh my god? No, you don’t think so? I wouldn’t put it past him with his button straining across his big fat belly.

Stan  23:30

I love the way you think. Because I always like, I’m like, so sometimes I’m a little bit too pollyannish. Like, oh, no, everyone’s out here with such good, pure motives. And sometimes that gets me in trouble.

Gina  23:41

Yeah, I don’t I think that I think it was a way of belittling you. If he could belittle his wife.

Nicola  23:48

It was his way of absolutely coming after you as well.

Gina  23:51

Yeah, he was absolutely belittling you. And and maybe it didn’t land because you’re much too nice of a person.

Nicola  23:58

And also probably smarter.

Gina  24:00

Yes. But I think I think there was an ulterior motive there. Because really, yeah, because really, if he just wanted to talk to you about the work thing he would he would tell it, Secretary hold my calls. Yeah. You know, absolutely. Like, my dad used to work for the same company. And I would even me as His child, and my mom would, we’d still have to go through the Secretary, there was a layer of defence. So

Nicola  24:28

can we just pause here for a second and remind people that if this podcast is something you enjoy, we would love to hear from you.

Gina  24:36

You can find us on Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at let’s break up toxic workplace stories.

Nicola  24:41

sharing and subscribing really helps us feel validated.

Stan  24:45

And in both cases, I escaped both those managers. You know, that’s the upside. Yeah, that’s the that’s the upside of a very large company. Like if you’re working like for an entrepreneur and, or you know, or just, you know, it’s like 10 people there’s like, no place to go unless you You quit. Yeah, they’re very, very acquired company, you can go to another division, you can go to another location. Yes. Always ways of getting away from that boss from hell.

Gina  25:11

Alright, so what is I still have the visual of the cigarettes with the straining buttons. Okay, what is it? What is your next toxic workplace

Stan  25:23

with executive leadership because not only can a individual manager create a toxic environment for their department, you know, senior leader, so we had a, you know, actually a division, we had 3000 employees. And, you know, the first the general manager who had at first he was very inspirational, he listened to everybody’s voice, he was a very positive leader. And then when he moved in, they brought in a new leader, who really just didn’t really have a good leadership style. And he would basically do whatever the senior executives asked. So the senior executives saying we’re going through some financial crushes, we need to reduce the headcount 15%. And initially, he said, Okay, we’re gonna lay off 15% of people, but then we’re going to try to make some processes more efficient. And we’re going to also analyse what is the 15% least valuable work we’re doing and not do it anymore. So I’m saying I’m fine with that we can That sounds

Gina  26:27


Stan  26:28

Then two days after the layoff, he comes back and says, I’m sorry, but you had to figure out how to do all the stuff you used to be doing. Okay, so everything he

Gina  26:38

wanted, instead of getting ready rid of the least valuable 15% of the work you’re doing, he’s now saying, you still got to do that.

Stan  26:46

Right, then he did it again the next year. So now we’re down 30%. And we’re doing all the same work. And we have the highest percentage of people in the hospital, from nervous breakdown and exhaustion, because everybody’s working 80 hours a week. And, and then we and by the way, we had we had one of the highest morale of the of the units under that former executive, we were the lowest morale unit in the country believe it. So HR is going to call a task force. And I was a junior executive at that time. And they call it a call to a taskforce of all like the junior executives to say we need to figure out why your morale is so low. And I shared exactly why. And everybody else was like messaging me saying, Stan, you’re correct. But we can’t speak out. Because if we speak out, we’re the next one’s laid off. And I was like, you know, I have no children. My mortgage is paid off. I could care less if they fire me. So

Gina  27:48

the dream, Stan, you were living this

Nicola  27:51

year used the 80s and 90s to your advantage. I love you right now.

Stan  27:57

So I was like speaking out, and they were all supporting me back. And then HR said, Oh, we can’t tell the executives that. And I’m like, It’s the truth. And it’s like, oh, make up some. I’m like, we need to make up something to you know, to placate them. I’m like, No, you need to tell them the truth, hey, we laid off 30% of the people. We’re all trying to do the same work. You’re working us to the bone with exhaustion. This is not right. The morale is totally in the gutter. These are the reasons why all my other peer executives are agreeing with me, but they’re afraid to speak out. And HR is like we can’t tell them that. And that. So yeah,

Gina  28:38

but what does that say about the company culture that it’s like built on fear, right under these new exec under these new like executive regime. It’s like, everyone just fearful. Just living in fear. I mean, that’s no place to go. That’s awful. That’s so terrible. And then. So I just want to point this out, because this happened when in like the 90s what you just described,

Stan  29:04

now we’re talking about 2008.

Nicola  29:09

So now we’ve we’ve, we’ve we’ve barely scraped through, you know,

Gina  29:15

the 80s and 90s. Millennium. Yeah. And then even

Nicola  29:18

a technology company, which was stressful enough for I think, everybody and now we’re like, cruising on in to what was to what was the big deals in 2008. SARS was a big deal in 2008. There were a couple of weird things happening in 2008.

Gina  29:34

I have no idea. But what I can say and what my point was asking when it happened is so now you have all these fancy buzzwords for what you’re describing, and I hate buzzwords, but what you just described Stan is quiet hiring where

Nicola  29:52

oh no, get off the ground. Get the grass. Yep, no, it’s true. Learn about it doesn’t know

Gina  29:58

but you can use it. but it is that not what Stan just described? It is a little bit, okay. Yeah, yeah, I don’t believe in these buzzwords. But essentially what it is it’s like, they’re they’re giving you the work load of two or three other employees without acknowledging it. They’re like, Oh, you just have to do this project as well, oh, you have to do this as well, not giving you any additional pay not, you know. So it’s like you’re, you’re doing the work of two other people and your normal work. So in today’s day and age, because everything needs to have a label, that’s called Quiet hiring. We don’t like labels here. So basically, what it is we because we just like to talk and like regular words, you are doing the work of two or three additional employees on top of your own work. But it’s kind of

Stan  30:55

cool. This kind of fun kind of is kind of fun, is that there’s like one super senior leader who was like pushing these layoffs. And he was very, like, I don’t care, let’s just work people to the bone until they fall of exhaustion. I don’t. I can say a bad word. I don’t give a fuck what we do to our people. That’s too big. So basically, what happened is he ended up getting arrested for insider trading. And when he was convicted, okay, so now he’s before the judge, and it’s sentencing time. And he gets prison time. And he goes to the judge, and he says, My daughter is now a senior in high school, can you at least maybe hold off me going to prison until after she graduates. And the judge basically said, you show no mercy for your employees? When you’re a senior executive? I’m showing you no mercy, you’re gonna fail right away.

Gina  31:58

Do you know like, I remember that. So to our listeners, Stan, and my dad worked in the same for the same company, not necessarily on this. There was no overlap. I don’t believe in what he was doing. And what you were doing. It was to, as you mentioned, it was a huge company, you know, locations all over North America. But yeah, all over the world. I remember my dad coming home and telling stories about, like, I think there was a few of them that got in trouble. It wasn’t just that one. I think there was like a handful of guys at the same time. Who got Yeah, who got nabbed and we’re in federal prison for a little

Nicola  32:45

bit of clubs said never killed anyone.

Stan  32:47

And of course, he was also having an affair with his stockbroker, who was doing all this stuff with him naturally. Right. And his wife did not know about the affair until he was arrested, you know? Yeah,

Gina  33:02

I know. Remember, my dad telling me about this. But it didn’t directly affect him. Like, were these people. This was in your direct leadership line.

Stan  33:13

This was not in my direct leadership line. But he was a very, very powerful executive, who has basically had oversight of almost the whole company is certain.

Gina  33:22

Okay, so then I do remember this. I do remember this. And there was a few people who got within the company who got jail time, I believe, right? Or am I

Stan  33:32

remembering? I mean, I’m, I’m good. I’m glad the judge said that, you know, what goes around comes around and you know, you, you treat people like that you deserve to be treated the same way. How can you ask the judge for mercy? When you totally screwed 1000s of people and made their life miserable, you know, people should be held accountable for things like that.

Nicola  33:55

So what happened once he was arrested and seemed to club fed, like, did the morale improve? Was there like an improvement in culture like, did they

Gina  34:04

didn’t rise from their hospital beds and come back?

Stan  34:10

People are so happy Yes, like, he got what he deserved. Okay.

Gina  34:14

Listen, there is something to be said for that kind of morale booster, like, like dingdong The Witch is Dead kind of thing. Like, I get it. I get that totally. Um, how funny how fucking funny. Okay, I love that story. Um, do you want to tell us a little bit about some of your good experiences at this company?

Stan  34:41

Yes. Because, you know, I always say that, hey, 85% of it was good and 15% was bad. You know, and I had some, you know, excellent managers. In fact, when I had my 25th and a service anniversary lunch, I did a talk called my four best managers and what I learned from that Um, and it also was a diverse it featured, you know, is two men and two women. And one of the people was African American. So it also showed that good management and good leadership can be diverse, that you know, men and women, people of colour can all be good leaders. But one of my really good managers, he always like he always gave me credit whenever I did anything really, really good. And at times, like he would be in meetings, and having to present some data. And what he would do is he would kind of feel out with the crowd was like, the executives, and if he felt they were kind of friendly, he would say, stand up, go ahead and pitch. But if he knew they were going to give us a hard time, he would go ahead and do the presentation.

Gina  35:44

And one for the team. Yeah, yes, nice. One time, I

Stan  35:47

did mess up on some analysis. And I’m sitting in his office on the speakerphone, and the Vice President of Finance calls up instead, you know, who made this mistake, you know, this is this is the air. And instead of like, blaming me, like my old that boss would have done, you know, he basically said, I’m the manager of this department, and I take responsibility for it.

Gina  36:08

That’s amazing. That is amazing. Yeah, that’s like one in a million. That’s just like a really good fucking person. Isn’t that

Nicola  36:19

amazing? When you find such a good manager, like how you would go to the ends of the earth, for them? Let’s hear number

Stan  36:27

manager, you know, he knew I was ready to be promoted to my first management job. And, you know, managing jobs that open up, and he didn’t immediately promote me into them. And he explained why. And I totally trusted him, because he treated me so good. He basically said, I want to wait to promote you into a management job where I know you’re going to succeed, like he didn’t want to promote me to like a department that was in deep trouble. Because as a new manager, that would be a little bit hard that he wants to set

Gina  37:01

you up for failure. So yeah, so he wanted what was best for you.

Stan  37:06

And I trusted him, because the way he treated me for the last two years, I knew he would do what was best for me. And so I actually worked for him for a whole nother year. And then when the right management job came out, he promoted me into it. And it was a department that, you know, it was running pretty well. So I could learn to be a manager without have to immediately deal with a bunch of horrible issues.

Gina  37:32

Yeah, I get that, that that, again, that sounds like one in the one in a million. There are very few people who are like that these days.

Nicola  37:41

But you know, what’s really great about managers like that is they really guide the way that you deliver management long term, you know, they really kind of embed in you that sense of empathy, that sense of strong leadership, that growth mindset that, hey, pause before you talk vibe, you know, that look, really strong capacity for learning in your environments, and it stays with you for life.

Stan  38:08

And then my best manager when this is what’s really good, those bad managers. I can leave them after nine months. But then my very best manager that I had, I kept her for six years. And what’s cool is, as our department mission changed, we both pivoted, you know, she would change her role, I would change my role. But she was just, you know, she was superb. She really knew her stuff, technically. But she also was a great people manager. And I always tell the story, that there was a time where we did have to work, you know, on a project like 6070 hours a week for about six weeks. It was during crunch time. It’s brutal. And, and she knew that this had an impact on people’s families. And she she knew that I was taking my spouse out for dinner for his birthday. She actually knew what she had. She knew how to contact my mother. So she called my mother to find out where I was taking rich for his birthday. And then when I got there, the hostess handed us a card. And it was for rich, and it said, Rich. Thank you for hanging in there. You know, when during this time when we’re really working, stay on hard. I appreciate it. Drinks and dessert on me.

Gina  39:25

I would have loved that story a million times more if she comped the whole meal, but I still love it. I still love the story, but I really want the whole meal comped for you. So

Stan  39:35

that was that was such a sweet gesture. No, it’s

Gina  39:39

very rare to have some a manager do that to go that far out of their way to contact your mom to figure out the restaurant, you know, all of that. Kudos to her and kudos to rich for hanging

Stan  39:54

out I’m still I’m actually still in touch with her. And I always tell her she was like the best manager I ever had. And it was kind of funny because I initially use a lot of times you can interview and choose your manager. But in this case, there was a reorg. And it’s like, Okay, I’m getting a new manager. I’ve never heard of her. I’ve never met her. I’m like, Oh, God, here I go again, having to start all over again proving myself brand new manager. And I guess we just clicked right away, you know, she had a great job. And she, you know, she rewarded me for my work and, and then when she had to move, she brought me along with her. And it was just a great. Oh, yeah. And I got, you know, six years in a row, she gave me the very top appraisal rating. So great, got ya got good raises and good bonuses, I got rewarded for the good work that I did. And, you know, I always fully trusted her and everything. And I would do again, I would do anything I’d go out, you know, I’ll go way beyond the requirements of the job. If she needed me to do that, because of how she treated me that good managers are going to get the very best performance out of their people,

Gina  41:04

right, which begs the question, why would why would managers ever be terrible people towards their team? If exactly what you said, if good managers know, like, the morale is high, people are going to do a better job, they’re going to feel better about coming into work. Why do bad managers exist?

Stan  41:27

I have an even more important question. Why do senior leaders and why do HR people tolerate bad managers? And don’t remove them? That is what I’m really about. They continue to exist.

Gina  41:41

hypothetical scenario, what how would you handle how would you now handle a bad manager? Let’s say you weren’t working for yourself, and you are back with what’s his name? harpy harps? Hold on, we just

Nicola  41:58

had an episode recently we were talking about mouth herpes is just our podcast become like a breeding ground for herpes.

Gina  42:05

Well, we’re saying hard but not hurt. But it was

Stan  42:09

hard. But we call them herpes. Kind of fun. That was when remember that was in the mid 80s. When herpes was like the big disease,

Gina  42:19

what would you do differently? Knowing what you know, now having had these experiences? What would you do differently? If harp harp the Herb was your boss?

Stan  42:30

Oh, gosh. You know, I think one would be just the direct approach, you know, and saying, let’s have a discussion. And you’re hoping people like this will listen. But say, you know, this is, uh, this is how I’m feeling. And actually had to do this with I’m working like, as a vendor for a company, and I basically had to send her an email last week. But instead of like saying you do this, and you do that, is sit down and say, This is how I’m feeling, you know, and use I phrases Yeah, terms of, you know, that, you know, I feel that, um, you know, I feel like my work is not being appreciated. I feel like I’m not getting credit for the good things that I do. And I’m getting blamed for things that I don’t do, and, and try to make it so I’m not really attacking you. But I’m explaining how I’m feeling hoping that you will adjust your management style and see that you’re causing these things

Nicola  43:27

to happen within just stress within me, right.

Stan  43:31

And then if they don’t listen, and things don’t get better, I could get, you know, talk to their manager and say, Listen, I’m really having issues with, you know, harpies, the time that first story I told, when I went to her manager, she basically said, if you’re not happy leave, she didn’t even want to,

Gina  43:49

I mean, that’s always the risk that you run, right for speaking out. For, you know, speaking out in general, against anyone in a management position, if you’re not, you know, if you’re a direct report, I feel like that’s always the risk you run. That doesn’t be like, there’s the door. You could use it at any point, you know, like not, so I feel like, I feel like that, especially in America, where you’re basically at, well, like you could be fired for no reason. You could be disguised as a layoff, you know, so I feel like, I feel like it’s, that was probably not a strange response, especially for the time like, if you don’t like it, you could leave kind of thing. But, um, I like what you’re saying about, you go to someone and say, This is how I’m feeling. I think that’s, I think that’s actually a Mago therapy. You say like, I’m, I feel XYZ and then technically, the other person in a Mago therapy would say, Okay, what I’m hearing is you feel XYZ, when x y ABC happens, right so that there’s like a mirroring of, of what you’re saying.

Nicola  45:06

But processing the information. Yeah. But

Gina  45:09

I, I like I’m trying like I’m thinking about the bosses I’ve had. And I don’t think any of the toxic bosses I’ve had over my career, I don’t think any of them were emotionally evolved enough to be like, I, I hear what you’re saying, and you’re not wrong. Let’s tackle this problem together.

Stan  45:30

I don’t think, yeah. And the case I’m undergoing now, where, you know, I have emailed this person, I don’t even need them to do anything. I just want her to say, I heard you, I understand. You now, right. And instead of arguing with me, what I’m afraid is when we get together, she’s going to pick apart everything I said, and try to defend or tell me where I’m wrong. And that’s all I want to be is okay, I heard you, I understand how you’re feeling. Let’s move on.

Gina  46:03

So what will you do? If when you do meet with this person, she starts doing the defensive thing? What could you do in that situation? To make it go your way? Could you could you say, hey, so and so? You know, I don’t want to debate it. I just want to, I just want you to let me know that you heard what I said. And that you, you digested it?

Stan  46:28

Oh, this is very cavalier, but again, you know, giving my given my age and giving my and I know, most people don’t have the ability to do this. But if she says that to me, you know, I don’t need that.

Gina  46:41

So she’s defensive and being kind of like, You’re wrong, because of XYZ. You’re just gonna walk.

Stan  46:48

Yes. And see that I feel bad for those people that can’t and I guess the thing is, what you might have to do is even before you approach there, your toxic boss is maybe hold off a little while and kind of have a backup plan. Like maybe start getting your fingers out there and seeing what other opportunities exist.

Gina  47:09

Yeah, have your resume. Yeah, right. are getting

Nicola  47:13

the embassy as well. Oh, wait. Yeah. Dr. Rambis said always have your shit together.

Gina  47:20

So meaning have your resume completely up to date at all times? So that if if you if you’re not someone like Stan, who doesn’t necessarily need this gig because they worked in corporate America for however many years they’re more mortgage has been fucking paid off. I hate you, Stan. So jealous. Um, have your resume ready to go at any given time. And

Stan  47:50

but you know, we always a good we all raise a good point of this discussion is that, you know, if you’re going to have the discussion with the boss, you know, there might be some risk, and you need to be ready at ramifications, what the ramifications might be, the boss might just say, you know, hey, then just leave or, you know, hey, you’re fired, you better have a good plan for what you’re going to do or saving. Jobs or to go to.

Nicola  48:15

I’m curious, I think as we start kind of wrapping up and kind of getting to the the end of the story. I’m curious to know, you know, if you had to go back in time, what are some of the key lessons you would impart to people that may be experiencing something similar?

Stan  48:33

First of all, I would say, maybe even address it sooner, that you can read, you know, you asked about red flags, if you see red flags, you know, don’t let it happen once, 234 times before speaking out, maybe try to speak up a little bit sooner. The second thing that really helped is have someone to vent to, instead of like either holding it in or exploding at work. When I had that really bad manager in the first story. I would come home from work every day with steam coming out of my ears and Richards say, Okay, what did she do to you today? Of course. And so having somebody you just vent to can make you feel better. And then also maybe even get, you know, maybe like a mentor or like a seasoned professional or a career coach who can help you navigate through it. Because sometimes when you’re going through experiences like this, it kind of freezes you up. And you get into a space where I don’t know how to handle this. So having like a mentor or a coach who might be able to see things that you don’t see, can they may help you navigate, how to go through situations like this. Yeah,

Gina  49:51

I think that’s been a lot of people’s requests that they want a mentor but they’re not necessarily given one when they When they express the want to have one, I wonder why companies, it’s

Stan  50:07

up to you to find a mentor, though, you know, that’s, it’s usually up to the mentee to go and you know, go find a mentor. And just, like, find a professional that you respect or someone you know, who’s gone through this and say, or someone who’s like really level headed, that has like a different skills and you have and say, hey, you know, I would like you to be my mentor. And actually, most people are kind of flattered. You know, it makes them feel good, that somebody else comes to them and says, Hey, I want you to be my mentor.

Nicola  50:39

Or even, you know, I think as a good leader, if your employee has indicated that they’re interested in having a mentor, I think it’s really important for you to open up your network to your employee, especially if they’re an employee that, you know, has got a growth mindset that they’re interested in learning and developing themselves. If you open up your network to them, they’re learning the opportunity to network and they’re not specifically using you as the mentor, but they can tap into people that, you know, have got the experience to help guide them.

Stan  51:13

And unfortunately, the kind of managers we talked about.

Gina  51:18

Don’t Don’t do that. Yeah, exactly. And, and it’s funny, because the express the moment that, that I mentioned before, where we’ve been hearing that a lot of people are requesting mentorship, they’re all they don’t get anything in response, because they’re all in toxic workplaces. Yeah, that’s Yeah, yeah. So it’s not even so much that they’re responsible. They’re bringing, they’re saying, hey, I want to be coached, I want to be led, you know, I want to learn more. And any good manager would be like I am so here for this, because it’s only going to help us as a company, or as our relationship perform better. Yeah. And a good

Stan  52:02

leader. Yeah, leadership development, say, yeah, some requests are better, we’re gonna find you one because he wants to grow,

Gina  52:08

because that’s accurate. So I think it would it’s, the onus is on both sides, right. It’s like, if it’s made known to your manager, or your management team, that you would like a mentor. Either you need to find someone that they they Okay, or they need to help you find the right fit. So I think it’s like a 5050 onus on Yeah, for sure is that, especially like in a company like the one you were at, which is so huge, that would be the easiest place to find a mentor at because, yeah, there’s just you have pick, have lots of different people. I had

Stan  52:45

a great, I had a great mentor. And, you know, he really helped me get to the executive level. And it was just a really great experience.

Gina  52:53

Yeah, I mean, you’re lucky, you’re lucky that you had 85% of your work experiences were great. I would say maybe 25 of my work, experiences are great. In my entire career, well, hopefully,

Stan  53:08

hopefully, over time, the bad ones are kind of this a little bit? Because once they do good ones they do, right?

Nicola  53:17

Is there anything else that you wanted to share with kind of our listeners, the audience, any kind of key takeaways you wanted to share?

Stan  53:27

When that situations happen, just try to take a deep breath, and don’t react too quickly and do or say something that you might regret? is a big one. Really, right, try to get into a good space. You know, secondly, you know, look for alternatives, don’t feel like you have to be stuck, you know, grab control, you know, look for a new job, you report your manager, you know, look for a new manager where you are, you know, take stock of the good assets that you have to offer some play sales, if you’re not appreciated, where you work, really look at what skills and assets do I have, that I can take from this toxic work environment, and go to a better work environment where I can thrive? So, you know, take control the situation and tried to take some positive steps and don’t feel like you have to be stuck? Yeah, you have to take you have to take care of yourself. Self Care is so important, especially the number of hours we spend at work, probably after sleeping. That’s the second most place we spend our time not working.

Gina  54:34

There. It is so sad. Thank you so much for coming on.

Nicola  54:39

Thank you so much for your time, Stan, we really appreciate it. Thank you for joining us today. If you would like to share your story, we would love to hear from you.

Gina  54:48

Also, leaving a review helps us create more content because it shows us there’s an interest in this topic.

Nicola  54:54

For those of our listeners who do beta with reading. We have close caption available on YouTube.

Gina  54:59

See you next week. Same time same place

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