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Interview with Paul Pelletier – Author of The Workplace Bullying Handbook & Others

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Interviewer: Mahmoud Mansi

Despite the wealth of data and reasons why organizations should take action to eliminate bullying, they rarely do. All too often, they have fostered, promoted, supported and, ultimately, protected the bully.

Paul Pelletier
ABOUT THE INTERVIEWEE

Paul is a ground breaking expert specializing in workplace respect, bullying, and conflict management. He is an internationally respected professional speaker and author of The Workplace Bullying Handbook. Paul uses his skills and experiences as a corporate lawyer and business leader in his work as a trainer in workplace respect management, conflict management and leadership. He is a regular presenter at global conferences and events. He is fluently trilingual and can offer keynotes and training in English, French and Spanish. He is represented by the National Speakers Bureau. Paul’s website: http://www.paulpelletierconsulting.com

THE INTERVIEW

1-HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Paul, first we would love to thank you for writing this book, and other series of interesting books as well. In this unique interview we will be asking from the point of view of the victim, the bully & the workplace. Can you share with the readers the idea behind your book? What do you mean by bullying in general, and in the workplace in specifically?

Paul Pelletier:

Background for the book.

Bullying in the workplace is a significant global problem that, just like cancer or economics, ignores the borders of culture, nationality, gender, class, age, or other traditional distinction. It not only causes harm to those in the target zone of the bullies but also enormous negative impacts to the workplace culture, projects, programs, profits, and success of our organizations.

Luckily, there is an abundance of useful and readily available information, research, and tools for preventing, identifying, and addressing workplace bullying. However, many of us (including me) find this abundance of information overwhelming, particularly when we are stressed because we are dealing with a challenging person at work. We need an easy-to-read, practical handbook – a single resource that focuses exclusively on the lessons learned from experience and practical tips for where to begin when we are confronted with a potential bullying problem.

That is the inspiration for this book. By bringing together my personal experience, the experiences of hundreds of others that have been shared with me, and the most salient bits of research and information available, I hope that this handbook fills a much-needed void. The book is dedicated to enhancing awareness of workplace bullying and the range of diabolical impacts it creates for people and organizations. I also hope to empower those who face bullying directly – the victims coworkers, managers, and executives. Most of us lack the skills or information to objectively identify and appreciate the motivation behind workplace bullying. By providing useful and non-judgmental information, tips, and tools, everyone will be better able to not simply cope, but to take action to address our workplace bullies.

What is Workplace Bullying?

Workplace bullying is mistreatment, perpetrated by an employee, severe enough to compromise a targeted worker’s health, jeopardize her or his job and career, and strain relationships with coworkers. It is deliberate, repetitive, disrespectful behavior that is always for the bully’s benefit. A bully’s actions, on the other hand, are repetitive, intentional, and deviant. The disrespect is often planned. Those with power or influence around the bully are manipulated to ensure the bully’s planned attacks will appear to them as appropriate “performance management steps,” “getting the job done,” or “taking care of business.”

For those who appreciate a more concise definition, the Workplace Bullying Institute defines workplace bullying as:

“Repeated, health-harming mistreatment, verbal abuse, or conduct which is threatening, humiliating, intimidating, or sabotage that interferes with work, or some combination of the three.”

2- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: We heard many success stories about people who were bullied and because of their bullying they turned out to become very successful people. Do you believe that bullying might have a positive impact with some people?

Paul Pelletier: On the surface, I may fall into the group of people you’re referencing. But there are no positive impacts that bullying has on people. Bullying can be as harmful in the workplace as it is in schools and other areas of society, causing the well-understood emotional and physical impacts, plus a long list of challenges for employees and their organizations. The statistics are sobering. Bullies are prevalent and the harm they cause has direct impacts on people, workplace harmony, and profits/success. If there is a bully operating in your midst, the impact on the team will be toxic, which inevitably has negative broader impacts for the organization. More sobering are the clear and irrefutable statistics – workplace bullying is costing businesses billions of dollars annually.

Targets of bullying face terrible impacts. Narrowing our impact discussion to the lives of targets is a sobering reality check. There are many researched and documented negative health impacts that can be attributed to bullying, including physical injuries and psychological injuries ranging from post-traumatic stress to heart disease.

The one group that mistakenly might feel that bullying has positively impacted them are organizations and their badly informed leaders. Despite the wealth of data and reasons why organizations should take action to eliminate bullying, they rarely do. All too often, they have fostered, promoted, supported and, ultimately, protected the bully. They do this for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common is that bullies are adept task masters that can “whip a unit into shape” or “get that project done.” Organizations ignore the means that bullies use to achieve the ends that matter most to them – the results. In effect, they know that people are being treated badly, but the short-term results trump the personal and workplace-culture harm that bullies cause. In blunt terms, the benefits outweigh the costs as seen from the eyes of organizational leaders.

Therein lies the biggest challenge we face to confront and eliminate workplace bullying – convincing our organizations and societies around the world that the problems, financial impact, and risks that bullies create are far more serious and long-term than any “positive” short-term results that a bully achieves.

3- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: How does bullying usually occur? Is it mainly a group of people bullying one person on a specific aspect? Or is it done in different ways? How does this impact the work environment?

Paul Pelletier: Unlike schoolyard bullying, people in the workplace are not targeted because they are perceived as loners, outcasts, different, or weak. Most likely, they are targeted because of their abilities, likeability, or other positive characteristics that may have posed a threat to the bully. The perception of threat is entirely in his/her mind, but it’s what he/she feels and believes. I believe that the most innovative, hardworking, and talented employees are often perceived as threats because they are drawing attention, accolades, and people toward their work – likely away from the bully or his/her projects.

The Workplace Bullying Institute’s research findings from a 2000 study confirm that targets are usually veterans and the most highly skilled persons in the workgroup. Common attributes of targets often include the following:

• Targets are independent.

• Targets are more technically skilled than their bullies.

• They are the “go-to” veteran workers to whom new employees turn for guidance.

• Targets are better liked.

• They have more social skills and, quite likely, possess greater emotional intelligence.

• Colleagues, customers, and management appreciate the warmth that the targets bring to the workplace.

• Targets are ethical and honest.

• Targets are people with personalities founded on a nurturing and social orientation – a desire to help, heal, teach, develop, and nurture others.

Generally speaking, bullies most often target those underneath in the organizational hierarchy. This translates into a simple fact – the majority of bullies are bosses. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute 56% of bullies choose a subordinate as their target. This is why the situation is so difficult for the target. If they complain, the natural and often effective response from the bully is that the target is a poor performer and using the complaint as a tactic to deflect attention away from this problem.

Bullies take on colleagues about one third of the time. The bully perceives a coworker as competition, perhaps for a promotion. It’s the same game, just with a different person in the crosshairs.

Very rarely does a workplace bully “bully up,” taking on someone of higher rank. Instead, they apply their manipulative social skill, ensuring those above protect them.

4- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: If you are an HR Director and you wish to conduct a culture audit on work bullying, what methodology would you use?

Paul Pelletier: As an organization’s chief “people persons,” human resource professionals have the potential for significant influence. They regularly advise the executives and have a unique perspective to share with them. They have a deep awareness about what’s going on with everyone working throughout the organization. In fact, HR professionals are often the only ones with a complete picture of the workplace culture. As a result, I believe they are a critical pivot point for change and that they wield persuasive power to help eliminate bullying.

Throughout the world, HR staff are helping business-savvy organizations take increasingly preventative steps to confront workplace bullying, reinforcing their ethical awareness and instilling confidence in employees and those who do business with them. It is far better to proactively and directly address the bullying than to permit spreading poison throughout the organization. There are a host of proactive and preventative measures that motivated HR staff and organizations can take. Some of the most practical, proactive tips are the following:

a) Establish or Revise Respectful Workplace and Ethics Policies

Create organizational codes of ethics and respectful workplace policies that clearly include anti-bullying policies, effective methods to report and investigate bad behavior, and make annual training for workplace ethics and respect mandatory.

b) Initiate Awareness Campaigns

As noted earlier, there remains a lack of awareness regarding workplace bullying. Many people lack the tools and knowledge to identify bullies and understand the situation once a bully has been identified. Thus, it is essential that everyone in the organization be provided with baseline information and a bully-awareness tool kit.

c) Invest in Training

Training, awareness, and education are critical to the success of such policies. Human resources must be on board and not feel unprepared. Each segment of the organization requires training adapted for the audience. Executives and leaders have different responsibilities and points of focus than do employees.

d) Walk the Walk

There is no replacement for authentic, engaged leadership and HR. Just like any important initiative, unless everyone witnesses sincere, meaningful, and consistent anti-bullying messages and behavior from the executives, the goal will never be reached. It may be cliché, but to eliminate bullying the change must come from and be led by example from the top. From the CEO and senior managers all the way down to lower-ranking staff, the message must be direct, consistent, and clear – there is zero tolerance for bullying.

e) Improve Performance Management Strategies

One of the most effective ways to improve organizational workplace culture is to include performance metrics for respectful behavior and attitude in performance plans for every employee. Give managers a tool to directly address bad behavior the moment it surfaces. By making the employees accountable for disrespectfulness, organizations increase the impact of their workplace respect policies.

g) Implement Fair Reporting Processes

Establish fair, effective, and safe methods to report alleged bullying: Bullying isn’t like other conflicts in the workplace. It requires specialized processes and methods for conflict resolution. First, an unbiased, safe, and user-friendly complaint-reporting process is essential. This works to everyone’s benefit and will ensure impartial, confidential, and trustworthy processes.

h) Establish Investigation Processes

Bullying investigations must be impartial, fair, and fulsome. In order for a staff to feel safe and have faith that their employer takes this issue seriously, it is essential that investigations are unbiased, confidential, free from political interference, and result in appropriate responses if allegations are proven. An impartial investigator should be engaged to conduct this sensitive work and be permitted to speak to anyone who may have witnessed the activity. Fair treatment for all alleged victims, bullies, and witnesses is needed to engender trust in the process.

i) Take all Bullying Reports Seriously

Take bullying claims seriously but tread carefully. Until there has been a thorough assessment of the complaint by unbiased and trained personnel, the organization and HR should remain neutral. The important point here is that organizations should respond immediately and professionally. While every report of bullying or bullying-type behavior should be taken seriously, whether they have merit is for the investigation process to determine. It is fair to say that some allegations will turn out to be situations that involve conflict between two competitive staff, or misunderstandings, or communication breakdowns. Regardless, the investigation will provide the organization with a neutral report that helps senior management address the problem, whatever it turns out to be.

j) Use Effective Conflict Resolution Strategies

Normal conflict resolution processes won’t work with bullies: It is naïve to think that you can reason with a bully. Holding a meeting with the bully to “hash out” management’s concerns will usually result in the bully defending their actions, using deceit, blame, and deflection as their primary means to convince management the problem lies with the target. In other words, there will be no progress, no accountability.

Furthermore, mediation is simply another opportunity for the bully to misbehave and instill fear in the target. This is an organizational problem that requires impactful decision-making authority, not a compromise-seeking session. Thus binding arbitration is normally the best process to use. Often, the organization will find it doesn’t get this far.

With all of these policies and processes in place, there is no guarantee that your organization won’t ever face a bullying situation. However, when it happens, the organization will be prepared to handle the challenges effectively, with due process.

5- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: If after you conducted the audit you found out you have a high percentage of bullies & bullying in the organization, how would you suggest to resolve the issue & what would be the timeline?

Paul Pelletier: HR is often mistakenly used as the bullying complaint office and expected to handle audits, complaints, investigations, and conflict resolution. My point is that HR shouldn’t be conducting any audits or investigations. Simply put, HR staff aren’t prepared for properly trained to do this work or to deal with bullies. This isn’t their fault but that of your organization. Many executives fail to appreciate that bullying situations are highly complex and require bullying experts in order for the situations to be effectively resolved. HR lacks training in counseling, psychology, and the power dynamic-laden conflict-resolution process, all of which are needed to manage bullying situations Further, HR isn’t appropriately placed to ensure that complaints processes are fair, unbiased, and free from influence.

Despite these potential hurdles, if HR can provide solid reasons to implement change and frame their arguments using words and approaches that executives relate to, I believe there are many opportunities for positive change. Employers are slowly becoming more informed of the many negative work culture and organizational costs associated with bullying. By demonstrating many examples of quantifiable impacts that affect organizational success, innovation, employee engagement, and the bottom line, human resources personnel can make a difference.

There are tools and information available to HR personnel that could make an impact. I recommend an anti-bullying action plan that focuses on an approach unique to HR and on ensuring the people in the organization are paramount. It also incorporates the need to articulate impactful arguments that quantify the cost of a bully in your workplace. HR’s job is to provide executives with irrefutable data that inspires them to act.

Specifically, an HR action plan focuses on the following:

• To become well informed about bullying;

• To convince executives to invest in anti-bullying training, policies, and processes;

• To improve organizational awareness;

• To develop methods to quantify the costs of bullying in your organization;

• To ensure HR doesn’t become the bullying complaint in-take and resolution office; and

• To take action within your sphere of control and influence to prevent, effectively manage, and eliminate bullying.

Human resources personnel can play a major role in leading the effort to eliminate workplace bullying. By focusing on the business reasons to eliminate bullying, I believe change will happen. If the only way that CEOs and Presidents will respond to bullying is by being fed the business case for eliminating it, then HR can provide them with the diet of numbers and statistics that will motivate action. You can prove what bullying actually costs if you need to.

6- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Is there a way to spot a bully during the recruitment process?

Paul Pelletier: Unfortunately, workplace bullies are often hard to clearly identify, particularly in a recruitment process. They are usually highly skilled, articulate and smart. They may also be socially manipulative and adept at charming those they deem will serve their career path well. They know how to play the game and impress. One thing to look for is that bullies are usually focused on achieving results, regardless of means, ethics, or fairness. Sadly, it is often those results that senior managers are impressed with and focus on. I would advise recruiters to take note of this. Listen to your intuition – if you feel uncomfortable or a flag is raised, don’t ignore it. The reference process may be of some help if recruiters have flagged any concerns. Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions from references.

7- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: What would an employee who is bullied should do first, then second, then last, in order to stop the bullying?

Paul Pelletier: This question is too hard to answer as so much depends on the situation and many factors that impact what the best action plan might be. The best response I have is to read the section of my book for action plans for those who are targets of bullies.

8- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: If you are working towards creating awareness among bullies to convince them to stop bullying, what approach is best used?

Paul Pelletier: In the case of less severe forms of disrespect (i.e., being interrupted at a meeting, an inappropriate remark, a breach of a boundary, etc.), by taking fair and direct action, when it’s appropriate, we not only stop the bad behavior but also lay the groundwork for the possibility of rebuilding the relationship so that we can move past the regrettable offense. This is also possible for many daily workplace conflicts.

Unfortunately, bullying is a behavior that falls at the extreme end of the disrespect spectrum. Like harassment, discrimination, and workplace violence, our intervention goal will likely not include the chance to rebuild a relationship. Our main goal is to take action that effectively stops the behavior.

One of the most common questions I’m asked is, “When should I take action against a bully?” My consistent response to this question is that we stand the best chance of stopping bullying in its tracks if we take action as soon as possible and when it is appropriate – preferably, quickly after the first time the disrespectful behavior occurs.

However, I only recommend you take direct action if you are comfortable and it’s appropriate. In using the word “comfortable,” I’m not suggesting that you are only ready to address bad behavior if you relish and enjoy these fierce conversations. No sane person would ever feel that way. Instead “comfortable” and “appropriate” are used as an important reminder that there may be instances when you aren’t in the proper place to take unilateral action or the circumstances aren’t suitable for you to even try. For example, if the offender is a person with a high level of power and is known to abuse such authority, it may be best to consider a multilayered action plan that engages others to assist. Alternatively, you may be dealing with a very well-known workplace bully that is entrenched and supported by the senior management.

The inevitable follow-up question is “How do I take that very first action?” There is no simple answer to give, so my best response is that “it depends” – on the circumstances, on your organizational policies, on your communication skills, on the people involved, on your place/role in the organization, and on many other relevant factors. Each fact pattern requires careful assessment to determine what exactly to do and say and whether you need the help of others.

I address the “how to” take action question in detail in The Workplace Bullying Handbook.

9- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Speaking of awareness campaigns, many campaigns rely on negative images and communication that grab the empathy of those who already believe in the cause, yet further detaches the bully from society. Do you think these campaigns actually “bully the bullies”?

Paul Pelletier: I believe that we must call out bullying openly and honestly. You can’t sugarcoat the truth. I firmly believe it is fair to refer to bullying as workplace terrorism. This isn’t a negative image to bully the bullies – it’s honest and defensible. Bullies don’t care about awareness campaigns because they believe they are impervious to attack.

It takes a while to grasp that bullies rarely have much, if any, capacity to care or feel compassion for others. From the many stories I’ve been told, it is fair to say that they are usually consumed by their egos. They are driven, at all costs, to prove themselves and disprove those around them to ensure they are in the limelight. They need recognition and are constantly on the promotion track. They are control freaks and don’t see any other perspective but their own. They hide their deep-rooted inadequacy in a shield and image of impenetrable power and ruthless wielding of authority.

The second something goes wrong, they are pointing the finger at others, blaming them as the root cause of the problem. From “fake news” to outright lies, I’ve heard countless tactics that bullies have used to deflect issues or problems away from them. All of which to say, I don’t feel that awareness campaigns should be designed to do anything but provide facts and inspire people to take action to stop bullying.

10- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: As a spouse, a family member or a friend, how can I help my concerned person if he/she is being bullied at work?

Paul Pelletier: As I’ve discussed, bullying causes significant physical and mental health impacts. All of us can support a victim by being compassionate, empathetic and listening. Remember that you are neither a counselor nor a trained HR staff member. Consider what the victim is trying to manage and how you might provide emotional support or other compassionate assistance. Sometimes just listening is enough. Help the target reason things out and make sound decisions given the realities of their workplace. Encourage the victim to get professional help from unbiased professionals who bring many tools and skills to provide guidance and support.

11- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Since you are PMP certified and have also published a couple of books with the PMI, we consider this book as a complicated project. From a project management perspective, how did you pre-plan all this? Can you also share with us some of the challenges “project creep” you faced and how did you overcome them?

Paul Pelletier: Both books were complex projects and, like all projects, scope and schedule challenges were constantly needing review. The more research I did, the more I realized there was more than one book to write. That’s why I wrote two different books covering two totally different aspects of workplace bullying – the first being a business book focusing on the many business reasons to inspire leaders to take action to stop bullying; and the second being a practical handbook designed to assist anyone in their efforts to confront bullying.

Once I knew I had two books to write, I was able to focus on a project plan for each book, with timelines, deliverables and milestones. Being highly organized and managing my time was critical to success. I also picked a great editor very early in the process and she was integral to maintaining my priorities and focus.

The Workplace Bullying Handbook. This is a link to both books on my website. Each book has hyperlinks to amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com if anyone wants to buy one (in kindle or hardcover).

Corporate

Q&A with Yasmine Yehia | MEA Employer Branding Manager at Schneider Electric, Life Coach & Consultant

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Interviewer: Mahmoud Mansi

“To be able to have a strong brand, you need to start from within – you need to have an attractive story to tell so if this is not there, it won’t be the right time for employer branding. I always tell the people I teach employer branding – fix internally first and then you will have something to say externally.”

Yasmine yehia

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: How would you introduce yourself to the audience?

Yasmine Yehia: I am an Employer Branding expert, a certified life and career coach from the ICF, a public speaker and a certified trainer!

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: How do you define Employer Branding in your own words?

Yasmine Yehia: Employer Branding is the art of story-telling, each employer has a story to tell, and this story is very useful for those who are interested in the company. A story about values, a story about culture, a story about care – a story about authenticity and uniqueness.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: What does an Employer Branding Manager do?

Yasmine Yehia: An Employer Branding Manager is someone who is an expert in storytelling, someone who is also an expert in the employer strategy and people vision and who is talented in showing what differs the employer from any others in the market.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Employer Branding is one of the new global trends in HR, yet still not implemented in several countries and among many organizations. Why do you think some organizations have concerns regarding implementing Employer Branding as a comprehensive initiative?

Yasmine Yehia: I don’t think it is a matter of a concern at all – I think it is a matter of time and maturity. To be able to have a strong brand, you need to start from within – you need to have an attractive story to tell so if this is not there, it won’t be the right time for employer branding. I always tell the people I teach employer branding – fix internally first and then you will have something to say externally.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: How do you measure the ROI of your Employer Branding initiatives?

Yasmine Yehia: Oh God, there are zillions of ways to measure the ROI of our initiatives and campaigns, as sophisticated as a brand awareness analysis to as simple as the quality of CVs we’re receiving for open vacancies. Measuring the pride and engagement of employees, measuring engagements and reach on our employer branding social media posts.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Who are your main stakeholders and partners in the Employer Branding process?

Yasmine Yehia: And like I teach in my workshop – Employer Branding is never an independent function, actually we cannot even function or deliver alone, it is a collaborative work between us, HR and Marcom.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Can you share with us one of the challenges you have faced in your current job and how you overcame it?

Yasmine Yehia: Managing a complex region like MEA is quite tough and I think the deep knowledge of each country in the region was my main challenge – what is it that my target audience in each country look for in an employer? I overcame it with loads of study and education and also with using the help of specialized agencies to provide me with the needed reports.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: What pieces of advice would you give to organizations who want to empower their employer brand?

Yasmine Yehia: Be authentic! Start from within and have an authentic story to tell. You will reach the hearts of your target audiences effortlessly.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Jessie (if we may call you with your nickname), we are curious what is the first job you ever had and what is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from it?

Yasmine Yehia: My very first job was an IT Recruiter for fortune 1000 companies in USA – I learned the art of assessing and dealing with people, if there is one thing recruitment has given me, it is the strong people skills!

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: You are also a certified Life Coach, how does this help you in your role in HR?

Yasmine Yehia: In both HR and Employer Branding your main customer and target audience is people, right? A life coach listens to so many people, to their issues and struggles, it makes you a people person by heart – it gives you the perfect listening skills and it strengthens the way you interact and communicate with people, and this is exactly what you need as an HRian!

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: As a Life Coach, what advices do you have to professionals who want to sustain a work-life balance? Do we all need to have a work-life balance?

Yasmine Yehia: YES, we all need a work life balance definitely – you need time for yourself, to recharge, reflect and develop. I’d tell them, make the time for yourself a priority – do not miss it, this time is actually good for your work too because you will always have the right energy to continue. If there is a learning lesson from 2020, it is the importance of our mental health. Have a routine and this routine must include time for yourself!

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: As a Career Coach, how do you think Covid-19 impacted the employment market?

Yasmine Yehia: Well, from what I see from my clients – so many people are thinking to shift careers post covid-19. Some of them must because they lost their jobs and some of them realized the importance of mental health, so they decided to leave a very stressful career. I think moving forward companies will have to learn to be flexible in their hiring process and start accepting candidates having the right skills for a job rather than a big number of years of experience! It is hiring for talents not years! People also need to be more resilient and smart in using their skills.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Finally, as a Trainer – why do you think personal branding is very important? We know you teach the topic.

Yasmine Yehia: In a world that has gone totally virtual – people need to learn how to build a strong personal brand online, it is how you will smartly use your skills and get paid for it! You no longer have the big chance to meet your recruiters face to face, following the new ways of working, we are heading towards working from home and flexible hours more, your personal brand is the only thing that will differentiate you in the market and open doors for you.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Thank you for your time, would you like to say anything?

Yasmine Yehia: Thank you for having me – I hope I continue inspiring those interested in the employer branding career!

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Civil Work

مقابلة صحفية مع إيناس عبدالقادر – مهندسة نسيج ومتحدثة في مؤتمر تيدكس وادمدني بالسودان

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صحافة: محمود منسي

ثورة الموارد البشرية: إيناس لديك العديد من الخبرات في مجالات مختلفة، هل يمكن أن تعطينا نبذة عن نفسك وأعمالك؟

مهندسة نسيج حاصلة على درجة الماجستير في هندسة النسيج (إعادة تدوير مخلفات النسيج)، من جامعة الجزيرة بالسودان.. عملي مستقل كموظفة ذاتية في مجال التصميم والبحث العلمي.. بالإضافة إلى أنني أعمل في قسم التسويق في مصنع لأكياس القماش غير المنسوجة.. وقد أصبحت القضايا البيئية جزءًا من شغفي نتيجة لذلك قمت بتأسيس شركة ريتيكس التي تعمل في إعادة تدوير مخلفات الملابس، حيث أثر فيروس كوفيد على العالم كله.

وأنشأنا مبادرة

(SudaHope)

و كانت نتيجة لتغيير جزء من خط الإنتاج لدينا إلى إنتاج أقنعة الوجه… وبالمزيد من التفكير في ريادة الأعمال كأداة يمكن أن تساعد الناس في تحسين حياتهم ، شاركت في تأسيس مبادرة

 (Business Master)

 لمساعدة أصحاب (الأعمال الصغيرة).. حظيت بالتحدث على منصة تيدكس ودمدني في 2019.. أعتقد أن أي شخص في هذا العالم يمكن أن يوفر تأثيرًا اجتماعيًا أو بيئيًا وأنا أفعل ما بوسعي للمساعدة في نجاح المبادرات المذكورة أعلاه.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: كيف يؤثر عملك على المجتمع والبيئة؟

أنا اعمل في مجال إعادة التدوير لمخلفات المنسوجات والأقمشة، ولهذا المجال العديد من الآثار على البيئة والمجتمع حيث نعمل علي خلق فرص عمل جديدة وتحسين مستوى الاقتصاد المحلي. ونظراً لمشاركتي في عدد من برامج تنمية وتطوير المجتمع أهمها (برنامج القيادات الشابة من الأمم المتحدة وعدد من برامج ريادة الأعمال من المجلس الثقافي البريطاني)، فأنا الآن اعمل على نقل هذه الخبرات التي اكتسبتها من تلك البرامج إلي عدد كبير من الشباب والعمل على تطوير مهاراتهم ليكونوا جيلاً مهتماً بريادة الأعمال ومشاريع تنمية البلاد.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: من خلال خبرتك ومن منظورك الشخصي ما هي التحديات التي تواجه بيئة العمل بالسودان؟ ما هي مقترحاتك للتعامل مع تلك التحديات؟

إن من خلال تعاملي مع عدد من المؤسسات الحكومية والخاصة في السودان لاحظت أن معظم المشاكل التي تواجه هذه المؤسسات هي عدم الاختيار السليم للموظفين بمعنى عدم وجود الشخص المناسب في المكان المناسب، ويرجع ذلك إلى عدد من الأسباب أهمها الوساطة والمحسوبية وعدم وجود تعريفات محدده للوظائف، كما أن من التحديات التي تواجه مكان العمل عدم احترام الوقت في بعض الأحيان وعدم وجود توافق بين الموظفين في المكان الواحد.

يمكن التغلب على هذه التحديات بتوظيف الأشخاص حسب تخصصاتهم وخبراتهم في المجال المعين، وكذلك التوعية بالحفاظ على الوقت وزيادة الوعي بأهمية روح الفريق الواحد ونتائجها على العمل.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: كنتي من ضمن المتحدثات بمؤتمر تيدكس وادمدني بالسودان، ماذا كان محور موضوعك؟

في عام 2019 كنت أحد المتحدثات في مؤتمر تيدكس ودمدني، وقد كان أحد أهم أهدافي أن اصعد على مسرح تيدكس ودمدني وأشارك الجميع موضوعاً يعتبر من أهم المواضيع في السودان ولكن لا يتم التطرق إليه إلا وهو موضوع نفايات؛ الأقمشة والمنسوجات وأهمية إعادة تدويرها، تكمن أهمية هذا الموضوع في انه يؤثر بصورة مباشرة على الإنسان والمجتمع ككل والبيئة المحيطة.

وعندما يتم إعادة تدوير هذه المخلفات والاستفادة منها فإنها تنتج لنا بيئة نظيفة وصحية خالية من النفايات كما أن هذا المجال يوفر عدد كبير من فرص العمل للشباب، كما أن مثل هذه المشاريع تدعم الاقتصادي المحلي للدولة.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: ما هي النشاطات الأكثر شغفاً لكي؟

من أهم النشاطات التي أحب القيام بها هي مساعدة الآخرين في تطوير أنفسهم وتحفيزهم على ذلك سواء كان ذلك عن طريق المساعدة بالتدريب أو التوجيه والإرشاد أو التوعية أو حتى عن طريق منحهم الطاقة الإيجابية التي تمنحهم ثقة في أنفسهم.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: من وجهة نظرك الشخصية ما الذي يجعل منصة تيدكس مميزة؟

تيدكس من أهم المنصات العالمية التي يجب على الجميع أن يكونوا على دراية كاملة بها لما تقدمه من محتوى يفيد الجميع في حياتهم، خاصة أنها لا تنحصر في مجال معين بل إنها تشمل العلم والتكنولوجيا والإبداع والترفيه والكثير الكثير من المجالات التي تهم الناس وتجعل حياتهم أفضل، أنا أرى أن تيدكس هي منصة التعليم الإلكتروني الأولى في العالم.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: هل يمكن أن تقصي علينا تجربة أو موقف قد مررتي به وتعلمتي منه درساً في الحياة؟

في حياتنا اليومية نقابل عدد من الأشخاص ونخوض العديد من التجارب وبالنتيجة يؤثر كل ذلك علينا ويغير طباعنا وطريقة تفكيرنا وحكمنا على الأشياء والأشخاص، ومن أعظم التجارب التي مررت بها هي تجربة مشاركتي في مؤتمر تيدكس ودمدني حيث أنني كنت من الأشخاص الذين تنتابهم الرهبة والخوف من الجمهور ولكن وبعد الصعود على المسرح وبمرور أول دقائق شعرت بتقبل الجمهور لي واستماعهم لي بعناية كبيرة ومن بعد تلك التجربة أصبحت أكثر ثقة في نفسي وزادت مقدرتي على مواجهة الجمهور وبدأت بتدريب وتحفيز العديد من الأشخاص في عدد من المجالات وأهم ما انصح به دائماً أن يواجهه الإنسان مخاوفه ويتحدي نفسه وعندها سيندهش بالنتيجة.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: ربما مفهوم “القيادة” يختلف من عصر إلا آخر بل أحياناً يختلف من شخص إلى آخر، ما هو مفهومك الشخصي للقيادة؟

إن نجاح مفهوم القيادة في الوضع الحالي يتعلق بصورة مباشرة بطريقة تفكير الأشخاص، والطريقة التي يشعرون بها، وتصرفهم بطريقة مسؤولة. فهي أكثر من كونها كاريزما أو شيء يمكن تعلمه بثلاث خطوات سهلة أو من خلال أحد البرنامج. حيث تتطلب القيادة القوية التطوير باستمرار. وليس بالضرورة أن يتمتع الأشخاص الأذكياء بالحكمة. ولكن بإمكانهم أن يتعلموا كيفية إيجاد سبل للتعامل مع التجارب الصعبة من خلال معرفة أنفسهم. كما أن العصر الحالي يعتمد على التفكير خارج الصندوق وإيجاد الحلول الإبداعية لجميع المشكلات التي تواجه الشخص القائد أو فريق العمل لدية.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: هل يمكن أن نتناول أحد التحديات التي قد مررت بها خلال حياتك العملية؟

في بداية هذا العام كنا نعمل على إنشاء ورشة لتصنيع الملابس الجاهزة وإعادة تدوير مخلفات المنسوجات، ولكن ومع ظهور فيروس (Covid19) توقف هذا العمل نظراً لتوقف الأسواق عن العمل ولم نتمكن من شراء كافة الاحتياجات الأساسية لبدء المشروع.

لم نتوقف عن العمل بل بدأنا بتحويل فكرة المشروع وتأسيس مبادرة تهتم بتصنيع الكمامات عن طريق الخياطين الذين توقفت أعمالهم وبذلك خلقنا لهم فرص عمل جديدة ووفرنا للجميع أهم وسيلة للوقاية من فيروس (Covid19).

ثورة الموارد البشرية: من وجهة نظرك الشخصية ما هي التهديدات التي تواجة إقتصاد السودان؟ وما هي مقترحاتك الاستراتيجية لتجنب المخاطر؟

إن الوضع الحالي في السودان غير مستقر في معظم القطاعات خاصة القطاع الاقتصادي وهذا القطاع يؤثر على جميع طبقات المجتمع باختلافها ومن أهم الاقتراحات الإستراتيجية التي يجب أن تطبق على البلاد هي أن نعمل على إصلاح المجتمع السوداني نفسه من خلال تكثيف التوعية والاهتمام بالأفراد وتوفير سبل العيش الكريم لهم، كما يجب أن يراعي أن السودان يحتوي على اختلافات كبيرة جداً بين الناس وعادة ما لا يتقبل أحد رأي الآخر أو توحيد الجهود مع بعضهم البعض لذلك فإن عمليات التوعية للأفراد والمجتمعات تخلق جيلاً أفضل ويعمل على نهضة البلاد.

ومن ثم إعادة النظر في السياسات الدولية للسودان وتحسين العلاقات الخارجية للبلاد، ومن أهم هذه الاقتراحات هي أن يُمحي أسم السودان من قائمة الدول الراعية للإرهاب.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: ما هي نصيحتك لمن يبغى التحدث بموؤتمر تيدكس؟

أنا أحب دائماً تشجيع أصدقائي أن يتابعوا كل الفيديوهات التي تطرح في منصة تيدكس، كما أشجعهم أن يكونوا حضورا لعدد من المؤتمرات وأحداث تيدكس في السودان خاصة تيدكس ودمدني، وبالفعل شجعت صديقتي حتى كانت أحد المتحدثين في المؤتمر السابق والآن أساعد ثلاثة من أصدقائي أن يكونوا متحدثين في المؤتمر القادم.

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Interviews

Q&A with Germeen El Manadily; TV Presenter | Publisher | Digital Marketing Expert | TEDx Speaker

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Interviewer: Mahmoud Mansi

“After the COVID-19 Pandemic, the world came to the realization that social media has a huge influence on business development, even when real physical marketing was absent.”

Germeen El Manadily

1- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Germeen, you have successfully worked in many different careers, can you tell us more about your journey?

Germeen El Manadily: I started my journey during college days, I have 12 years of work experience. I have BA from Alexandria University, and currently working on my Master’s degree in the influence of digital marketing on social development.

I worked 6 years as a publisher for a Swiss Publishing House, where I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the magical world of publishing and books. During these years we successfully published for many authors. I published more than 40 books in many languages, my first was the autobiography of the Egyptian feminist “Nawal Elsadawy.” 

I also worked on translation and publishing projects of books written by Egyptian authors, such as Youssef Idris, Salah Jahin, Abdel Rahman el Abnoudi, and Ibrahim Abdel Meguid. I contracted with Dr. Mahmoud Al-Dabaa, to translate his book, “The Culture, Identity and Arab Awareness.”

As for children’s literature, I had the opportunity to translate the original text of “The Brothers Grimm” into four languages. In addition, I worked on the production of the children’s travel literature book, “Adventures of Rouge and the Mystery of the Papyrus.”

I also spearheaded an initiative aiming at discovering new writing talents.

Finally ending my publishing career, I was the chapter head of the Middle East.

My other hat is working as a TV presenter in a weekly show at Orbit TV network, focusing on general social topics, as women rights, and career coaching.

I was chosen to speak as a motivational speaker at TEDxCIC, UN Women & Arab’s League Innovation (Her Story), and the French Institute panel in the women’s international day.

I recently shifted my career to become a digital marketing and communication expert.

My short-term plan is to make my own fingerprint in this challenging field and establish my own digital marketing firm covering Africa and the Middle East.

2- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Can you please tell us what did you love most in each job and also a lesson that you have learnt from each?

Germeen El Manadily: As a Publisher, I loved the fact of shedding the light on hidden people’s talent in writing, developing their skills, and giving them the opportunity to be introduced to the world. Being a TV presenter, I was introduced to a completely different community which gave me the chance to represent women of my age to the world. Currently, I find the digital marketing field very interesting as you play a major role in business development in a variety of fields; hence, in digital marketing you have the capability to be introduced to multiple fields at the same time, and you have to understand, compete, and plan a strategic map to grow this business in a specific period of time.

3- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: As a TV Presenter you do a lot of multi-tasking even if on air. Can you please tell us what was the most challenging thing about that job?

Germeen El Manadily: Time is the most challenging thing as a TV presenter. You must be able to communicate your ideas with your audience effectively in a specific period.

4- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: As you have worked 6 years in publishing, what do you believe are the common challenges facing this industry these days? What are your advice and suggested solutions?

Germeen El Manadily: Translation is a major defect in the field of publishing. Considering foreign literature occupies a big portion of the Middle East market. Professional translation needs to be further developed.

5- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: As a Digital Marketing Expert, how do you believe this profession is especially important in today’s business world?

Germeen El Manadily: After the COVID-19 Pandemic, the world came to the realization that social media has a huge influence on business development, even when real physical marketing was absent.

6- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Since your next plan is to establish your own startup, what are the skills, talents, and personalities that you will be looking for in the market to recruit?

Germeen El Manadily: Creativity and time orientation in applicants.

7- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: At such age you have accomplished many things in your career, what about your personal life? Tell us a personal challenge that you have faced in your life and how did you overcome it and what did you learn from it?

Germeen El Manadily: Leaving my home city and family at my early years of life to start my business journey. Aiming high in my life and trying to hit my targets was my driving force for these challenges. Nothing is impossible.

8- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Last but not least, as a Leader, how do you work on motivating yourself and sustaining your happiness at work?

Germeen El Manadily: Self-reward is the key in keeping your motivation up and building your self-esteem.

Thank You

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