Could She Fix a Bullying Narcissist?: Phyllis Quinlan, PhD, RN

Could She Fix a Bullying Narcissist?: Phyllis Quinlan, PhD, RN

My guest for Episode #50 of “the My Favorite Mistake” podcast is Phyllis Quinlan, PhD, RN. She is a nurse executive and she is also the CEO of MFW Consultants to Professionals. Phyllis has a BSN in Nursing and a Ph.D. in Healthcare Administration.

She is the author of many books, including her latest, Bringing Shadow Behavior Into the Light of Day. It's available through Amazon Kindle or as a paperback through her website.

In today's episode, Phyllis shares a story, and deeper lessons and reflections, about her favorite mistake — taking on a colleague's bullying behavior on her own, thinking she could fix that person. She didn't go to HR or the executive team until it was too late. Phyllis talks about two types of bad behavior in the workplace: 1) The chronically clueless and unaware and 2) “Narcissists with a license.” The former group you can help, the latter cannot be helped.

Phyllis shares lessons about what leaders can and should do about bullies in the workplace. What happens with a leader (or even the CEO) is a bully? How can we bring ‘shadow behavior’ into the light of day and prevent a toxic work environment? What are some mistakes that leaders make in dealing with bullies? How can we better train managers to deal with this?

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"I learned a very severe lesson from that experience [of trying to take on a bully without involving HR or leadership]. It's my favorite mistake because I've learned so very much from it."

"When it comes to bullies, who I usually define as 'narcissists with a license,' there is no turning that person around. There's no remediation." [You have to get them out the door.]

"[Bullies] have a very frail ego... It's all about me. They lack that gene of empathy. There's no way they can connect with the harm and damage they're doing, because they frankly don't care."

"When you have a [bullying] situation, you [have to] start documenting it so that you can have dates and times that talk about a pattern of behavior, not a rare moment, not somebody having a bad day, but a pattern of behavior."

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contain Mistakes)

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.