Emotional Terrorists Are at Work, Stirring Trouble; Eight Signs from Dr. Vali Hawkins Mitchell’s New Book 'The Cost of Emotions in the Workplace'

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Emotional Terrorists – often in high ranks - use emotions as weapons to gain control of people, situations, agendas, or political territory. Emotional Terrorism has been ignored by business leaders as a specific blend of behavior that goes beyond the usual bully or disruptive employee. These 8 signs help workplaces to surprisingly easy solutions.

"You'll look with new eyes at the enormous role played by human emotions in today's business. I endorse this new book as a guide for the 21st century global workforce." --James J.Cappola, MD, Ph.D., Medical Director, Medical Affairs, Harvard Clinical Research Institute

We’ve all seen and felt them at work - and maybe even been recruited by or been a victim of their handiwork. Psychologically, Emotional Terrorists (ET’s) seek and find pleasure in the discomfort of others and are experts in using emotions as weapons and strategies to achieve their agendas.

Dr. Vali Hawkins Mitchell, a nationally recognized clinical psychologist, consultant, and author of the new book 'The Cost of Emotons in the Workplace' in managing workplace emotions, defines Emotional Terrorism: “Emotional mechanisms and behaviors to force an emotional agenda on someone else with the intention of controlling a situation, or accumulating territory, real, perceived, or symbolic.”

Hapless employees may not even know the roles they’ve been assigned in this drama. When the script and cast assignments of good guys/bad guys, heroes and villains are written by the Emotional Terrorist instead of the manager, administration, or significant influencers, then the question becomes who’s the director of the show. Who’s really running a department or company? It might surprise.

Dr. Mitchell gives eight primary attributes of Emotional Terrorists, noting they areexperts at using information to deny accountability, manipulate the vulnerable, groom new victims, litigate to gain position, or defend their own threatened innocence.

1) Entitlement. Emotional Terrorists (ET’s) believe they deserve more than anyone else. Entitlement leans toward justification, self- aggrandized thinking, which affords permission to “take from” others. For example, an ET thinks: ”I’m entitled to extra time off, and since I have my co-worker Suzie under my control, I’ll make it look like she’s not working as hard as I am. She can take the rap for me later and get angry, which I can use to complain that I’m a victim of her moods. And if the manager doesn’t give me the day off, I’ll start telling people he’s having an affair.”

2) Bulletproof. ET’s are mysteriously special, immune to consequences, and unquestionably correct. They might blatantly steal and brag about it. They see themselves as increasingly omniscient and omnipotent, and begin to behave over-the-top and become less willing to be managed.

3) Antagonistic. Antagonism is hostile. Its mission is chaos, not the change requested. ET’s create an atmosphere of tension and conflict hidden behind polite behaviors. They enjoy finding and pushing the vulnerable until they’re slightly off balance. They have an amazing capacity to keep conflict going even in the midst of peacemakers. Something or someone else – often management - is the “problem.”

4) Entrenched. ET’s don’t quit, don’t back down, and are willing to sacrifice others. They see often themselves as martyrs. They refuse to see a workable solution or shared interests. Entrenchment is all-or-nothing, win-lose thinking. ET’s don’t let anything deter them from their goal of control.

5) Multi-talented. ET’s are always thinking of new and better ways to create chaos, and have to be multi-talented to accomplish their mission. Managers need to be more talented than the terrorist and think beyond their own “niceness” in order to find creative solutions and risk preventions.

6) Able to attract innocent supporters. ET’s deftly recruit followers by making them feel injured, special, entitled, and eventually bulletproof. ET’s don’t hesitate to undermine a manager’s authority. Expert at playing the victim, they switch roles to maintain position.

7) Charismatic or tragic. To attract supporters, ET’s use charm and sadness, counting on the denial and resistance of “nice” people to make excuses for them. Disenfranchised employees are especially vulnerable to ET’s. Tragic or sad performances from ET’s appeal to helpers, lost nurturers,co-dependents, and the need-to-feel-needed people. ET’s don’t really want to share, partner, or collaborate; the purposes behind their activities are self-focused and exploitive.

8) Hostage takers. ET’s take people and worksites hostage. They use the workday captive audience to pull off an emotional incident, and then watch the consequences unfold like a soap opera they’re writing. Think of this as an “emotional drive-by shooting” where the victims can’t call for help or run away.

Solutions are fairly simple. Dr. Vali Mitchell ‘s new book ‘The Cost of Emotions in the Workplace,’ outlines the full range of skills and tools necessary to deal with Emotional Terrorists. Turn the light on the issue of Emotional Terrorism for all employees. Once everyone recognizes ET behavior, the gig is up. Not unlike cockroaches who avoid the light of day, these difficult employees aren’t happy in an environment where everyone knows them for what they are. Expose their work, and the Emotional Terrorist will most often quietly leave on their own.

'The Cost of Emotions in the Workplace: The Bottom Line Value of Emotional Continuity Management' is available on Amazon.com.

Dr. Vali Hawkins Mitchell holds a Doctorate in Health Education and Masters degrees in Applied Psychology and Expressive Arts Therapy. She is a highly regarded public speaker, trainer, author, consultant, and educator.

Rothstein Publishing is a premier source of books and learning materials in Crisis, Emergency, and Risk Management, Disaster Recovery, and Business Continuity Our industry-leading authors provide current, actionable knowledge, solutions, and tools that can be put into practice immediately. The company’s commitment is to teach organizations how to be ready and able to protect, preserve and recover their most important assets: people, facilities, finances, and reputation. http://www.rothsteinpublishing.com

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