Never Putt with a Driver

Sound golf advice. I can think of a few applications—fat heads often have trouble with finesse and close-ups; bigger isn’t always better and there is the right tool for almost every task.

When I think of applying the idea to challenges in the workplace I am drawn first to bullying. Some time or another all of us have probably done a bit of bullying. For many people it is their MO. Are you a bully? Do you tolerate this type of behavior in those who work for you? Do you allow yourself to be pushed around by someone larger, louder and more aggressive than you?

Bullying on the play ground has been around for years. Cyber harassment is now a major issue in schools. But where do the kids learn this? Who tolerates the behavior at home? It reminds me…

I heard Marshall Goldsmith, a highly respected corporate coach, speak about the impact of bullying. A top-ranked executive at a major financial firm was administered a 360 along with all the other employees in the firm. The results were appalling. His employees, co-workers and fellow senior executives saw him as abrasive, unreasonably demanding, rude and not worthy of their trust, aka a bully. The executive was surprised but minimized the feedback saying it was what the work demanded. Coincidently, that week, he was watching his son play in a soccer game. Within minutes the executive observed a shorter version of himself - an aggressive, mean-spirited, tyrant who was not a member of the team, the player few on the team would pass to or interact with between plays. Shocked he went back to his coach saying “I do not want my son to be me. What do I have to do to turn things around?” The coach’s reply “start with you.”

First the driver came out. Goldsmith demanded the executive apologize to his people, inform them he was going to change his ways and finally, ask for their support. Next, with a putter, client and coach worked on helping the man observe his behavior (something he had never done). When he caught himself in an old habit he was coached to stop and note the circumstances and triggers and think of alternative ways of approaching the situation. He began to practice his new style. It was not always easy, he relapsed a number of times, but his staff was more forgiving for he was practicing his strokes. It became easier and almost natural. He was beginning to feel better about himself. One year later the results of his next 360 said it all. People had noticed a significant change. They liked what was happening and were willing to give the executive another chance. He had a way to go but the driver was securely in his bag, his score better and his handicap lower. I often wonder what happened to junior.

Your challenge

  1. Create a zero tolerance for bullying in your life. Don’t do it and don’t take it.
  2. If you’re behavior is unacceptable get help. Talk with a trusted co-worker, friend, or partner. Consider hiring a coach. Address it now rather than later.
  3. Observe times when you do something with too much force, too high an intensity level or just plain give someone or something too much power. Step back, breathe, see the humor in it and take it down a notch.

Jane Cranston is an executive coach, career coach and “The Job Search Expert” based in New York City. She shares with success driven executives and professionals techniques, skills and goal setting strategies that advance their careers, increase people management skills and assists them in career change or job search. Receive Jane’s free "Competitive Edge Report" and the free audio download “Creating a Career Strategy” by visiting

About the Author

Jane Cranston - Executive Coach NY (New York)Executive and career coach, “The Job Search Expert,” Jane Cranston understands the challenges and opportunities in the workplace. She integrates years of experience as an accomplished senior executive with global brand name companies, with the lessons learned from opening three successful businesses, and then applies her education and coach training. This sophisticated mix affords her clients her unique perspective, business sensibility, and entrepreneurial spirit.

Jane is the founder and Managing Director of ExecutiveCoachNY, an executive and career coaching business based in New York City with clients nationwide. She coaches success-driven executives and managers to develop a career strategy that accelerates advancement, increases compensation, enhances people-management skills as well as gets the competitive edge in all business activities.

Coaching with Jane is dynamic, structured, forward-focused as well as fun and inspirational. Working with clients in fields such as finance, technology, media and entertainment, real estate, and the law, she assists them in recognizing and achieving their full potential at work and in their personal lives.

Clients claim coaching with Jane has “changed my career focus,” “helped me better understand how to motivate my staff,” “given me ideas that have increased my income by $100,000s,” and “made me realize what is my part and what isn’t,” and claim coaching is “the best thing you could do for yourself.”

Jane’s soon to be published “Great Job Tough Times” is a step-by-step job search system designed to assist managers and executives looking for employment, or contemplating leaving their current positions, with their resume writing, interviewing skills, networking techniques, and negotiating need to get the right job fast.

Jane Cranston is frequently seen on CNN’s “Your Money” and quoted in nationally syndicated newspapers, magazines, as well as Internet article sites and virtual programs. She authors the free, twice monthly, “Competitive Edge Report.” Learn more on her website


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