The course is a chance for you to talk about conflict to help you harness its power.
Life contains many issues that have a moral dimension that may or may not be connected to law.
The word moral is dangerous when left undefined. It is ambiguous given that the moral content of an issue is always discerned through a specific lens or measured with a specific meter. There are different moral standards that we could use to answer the question posed by the article’s title. We’ll keep things simple by leveraging the principle of “do no harm to others” to uncover the moral dimension of prejudice.
The question could be framed as, “Does prejudice lead to physical or emotional harm?” Perhaps a better question might be, “Would a rational, prudent, impartial person acknowledge that prejudice violates contemporary ideals, norms, or values of respect for persons?”
I think it’s good to acknowledge that the question won’t capture all of the nuances of a particular situation. It does, however, provide good guidance.
Prejudice could also be considered an ambiguous word. Let’s define it as a condition that affects our behavior toward other people. It can be discerned in us when all of the following symptoms are present:
- Prejudging a person or group using hand-me-down stories;
- Holding derogatory beliefs;
- Hostility and fear are the dominant feelings associated with a person or group;
- Inclination to hinder, hurt, or support others in doing the same.
Would someone manifesting the above symptoms violate contemporary ideas, norms, or values of respect for persons?
Let me morph an old proverb as an answer: The proof of the pudding can be found on the receiving. You will need to understand the lived experiences of those you hold prejudices against or at minimum listen to their voices.
There are four ways we express ourselves:
- Passive (people can read my mind)
- Aggressive (the superior being)
- Passive-aggressive (the stamp collector)
- Assertive (rights & responsibilities)
The manifesto says:
Every Human Being has the right to be treated with respect and express opinions or feelings, so the question becomes…
How can I express what I need to express, without offending?
How can I translate what I want to say into what I can safely say?
It’s not only possible to address frustrating situations – it’s encouraged.
From *quick draw responses* to *holding that difficult conversation with someone*, we have communication strategies for you, based on credible research.
Contact us if your team could use more
Open and Honest Communication
I believe everyone can agree that, generally, if a person crosses someone’s boundary, it would be great if the offended person spoke up. It would be great if everyone abstained from coping with any life issue using passive or passive-aggressive behavior.
Yet, we do need to acknowledge the difficulty of calling someone out where a power imbalance exist. Dealing with power is more art than science. It can be quite challenging to speak truth where candor is not valued in organizational relationships.
If you asked an HR professional for their honest opinion, they would probably say that many of the issues they deal with could have been avoided if the parties involved had simply had a conversation about the issue first.
Easier said than done many would say. No.
It does take courage and skill to speak your truth to power. However the key is connecting the issue to values.
We often try to change others or set boundaries based on our values (what’s important to me). Yet, we need to acknowledge that people don’t willingly change unless something they value is at stake.
If by offending someone I put something of value to me at risk, I will be more willing to change to protect what’s valuable to me. Everyone, no matter how altruistic, is motivated at some level by self-interest or the desire to survive.
It can be challenging to view the issue from another person’s perspective. If you draw a blank when you wonder “what value is at risk for them,” it probably means you don’t know them.
Here are four tips for developing the skill of speaking your truth to power:
- Remind yourself that your goal is to “build a deeper connection with the other person”;
- Be in tune with the value(s) of the other person in the specific context and frame the issue from their perspective (what they value);
- Start the conversation by focusing on the value at risk and avoid beginning with your interpretation;
- Be open to changing your perception (interpretation), by inviting them to communicate their perspective.
Assertiveness takes practice. It is a firm pathway for speaking truth to power.
Contact us at 1.866.377.0165 to book a mini-course on “Speaking Truth to Power” or to gain access to a 15 minute video that you can use to lead a team discussion.