The Rebels Among Us

By Silver Rose

The Rebels Among Us

Last week, I taught a course in Phoenix called, “It’s Work, NOT Group Therapy – Managing Emotions at Work.” It’s one of my most popular courses for a variety of reasons. Mostly, it’s because attendees come hoping I will teach them how to fix the troublemakers at work.

I cannot do that. I do, however, teach them how to have a positive influence over co-workers that is guaranteed to create a more positive work environment. The most difficult part of that formula is that many of us don’t WANT to exert a positive influence over “troublemakers.” We want to – and usually do – punish them.
We’re adults of course and have learned the rules of polite society so we usually don’t punish overtly, we are covert about it. We would never say, “Your behavior is driving me crazy.” Instead, we gossip, we use body language to try and deliver the message and, the very worst of all? We shun.

I have heard of Indian tribes who, for the most heinous of crimes by a tribe member, mete out the following punishment: they declare the perpetrator “dead” and s/he becomes invisible from that moment on. No one looks at, speaks to or in any way acknowledges that person’s existence within the tribe. It’s a horrible punishment most often resulting in the person leaving the tribe or dying, both results of a broken heart and spirit.

When we shun people within our own tribes, it is the same sort of horrible punishment. The difference? When we shun it is rarely for a heinous crime. It’s generally because that person doesn’t behave in a way that we have deemed “appropriate.” We become the judge, jury and executioner of the rebels among us.

Ironically, when we do that, the worst punishment we inflict is on ourselves.

.How does punishment make you feel? Does it make you happy? Are you proud of yourself? Does it fill you with joy?

Although it may make you self-justified, that is usually a negative emotion. For me, it always felt like grim satisfaction. It lives in the neighborhood with all my other negative emotions, across a river of fire from my positive feelings.
Why is this important? Our emotions tell us what we are attracting into our life. Law of Attraction says, “You attract more of what you focus on.” When we take part in any form of execution, we are inviting into our lives all that is a match to that. And it gets ugly for us, fast.

At the Phoenix workshop, I had a table of rebels sitting in the back. Being one myself, I happen to love rebels. One of the reasons is because they are not afraid to let you know where you stand with them. They are open and honest about it. It’s why they are considered rebels. The rest of the world would prefer they be more “polite” and hide their true feelings. They refuse to do it.

Rebels have the audacity to think that the only person at work who has the right to correct their work or behavior is the boss. They turn a blind eye to disapproval from their co-workers. For that, they are often shunned, silently voted “out” of the tribe. And if the boss doesn’t do something quickly enough, other members of the tribe take it upon themselves to take action for him/her. Let the “shunning” begin.
If someone at work does something that doesn’t impact YOUR work or YOUR paycheck, it is simply none of your business. If it does affect you (and by “affect,” I don’t mean that it annoys you – that’s your choice), talk to that person about it directly, not with covert actions designed to leave heavy “hints” that he/she should start behaving.

The rebels among us can teach us a lot if we are willing to listen. Many of them know how to communicate, directly and clearly. If we all learned how to do the same, we would find ourselves attracting much less rebellion. The reason for it would simply go away.