What makes you frustrated? Wish you could address it?


There are four ways we express ourselves:

  1. Passive (people can read my mind)
  2. Aggressive (the superior being)
  3. Passive-aggressive (the stamp collector)
  4. 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

The ‘reasonable person’ debate: Is harassing behavior in the eye of the beholder?

In a 2013 article, researchers who study the impact of the law on human lives (Wiener, Gervais, Allen, & Marquez cited below) specifically explored the impact of people’s individual perspectives on their ability to consider the reasonable person’s perspective when judging potentially harassing behavior.

What do we mean by the reasonable person? The reasonable person is, according to Merriam-Webster, “a fictional person with an ordinary degree of reason, prudence, care, foresight, or intelligence whose conduct, conclusion, or expectation in relation to a particular circumstance or fact is used as an objective standard by which to measure or determine something (as the existence of negligence).” The reasonable person‘s point of view is considered when an issue of unwanted behavior occurs in a work environment, in order to help determine whether the act should reasonably be considered offensive.

In reading this article, I learned that there is something called the self-reference effect, where humans tend to reach judgments about outside situations by placing themselves inside the role of the ‘experiencer’ in the situation. As humans, we do this naturally – perhaps as an instinctive survival mechanism. However, in theory, this idea would debunk the whole reasonable person test we use to objectively judge issues. How can we consider the reasonable person’s perspective if we are putting our own emotions and values into that role any way? Isn’t that just our perspective then?

The answer is yes. We have a tendency to put ourselves into the shoes of others when predicting how another person experiences something. But that does not mean it’s impossible for us to consider the reasonable-ness of workplace behavior.  After all, we are held to certain expectations and standards in a work environment are we not?Perhaps a helpful way to think about the reasonable person is to instead consider a prudent, or careful, or responsible, or professional point of view.  

Would a prudent/careful/responsible/professional person consider the behavior unwelcome in a work environment?

 

The first step is knowing where the legal boundaries exist in your context.

Do you (and your team) know what legally defines harassing behavior?

 

Wiener, R. L., Gervais, S. J., Allen, J., & Marquez, A. (2013). Eye of the beholder: Effects of perspective and sexual objectification on harassment judgments. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law19(2), 206.

Generation Attitude Adjustment

When you feel frustrated with a person of a different generation, try to balance out the negative thoughts with positive ones. Researchers William Strauss and Neil Howe describe generations as part of a repeating cycle of “people moving through time” (1991, p. 23); and the “lesson of the cycle is that each generational type specializes in its own unique brand of positive and negative endowments” (1991, p. 39).

Common Complaints (Cons):               Pros

Millennials are always on their phones > They’re good with tech and multitasking

                                                                    > They’re creative/innovative.

Boomers are behind with tech and        > They’re experienced and have a different set of skills.

don’t want to learn new skills                > They’re good with face-to-face communication.

 

Discrimination and any other form of workplace mistreatment based on age crosses a legal boundary.

Could your attitude toward people of a different generation cause you to cross a legal boundary?

 

Challenge: Consider how a generationally diverse work environment can benefit your productivity? (diverse communication styles and skills, perspectives, experiences, etc).

Intersectionality: A concept we should all be aware of

In a Ted Talk I watched recently, Kimberlé Crenshaw’s The urgency of intersectionality, Crenshaw caught my interest by talking about a type of bias that is notably not talked about, yet quite dangerous and telling. Crenshaw coined a term, intersectionality, to describe the process of looking at what happens at the intersection when an individual is subjected to the biases of more than one marginalized characteristic at once (a person who is black and gay, for instance).

Crenshaw illustrates the concept of intersectionality by describing just that – an intersection.

An intersection where the biases that come against us (in hiring, and other forms of exclusion) work simultaneously and become doubly effective.

When we have more working against us in terms of bias-driven prejudice, we are statistically less likely to get that job or that promotion, or even that respect.

Crenshaw reiterates a certain point throughout the talk: When you can’t see a problem, you can’t solve it. She uses black women as an example of a population of people whose stories of mistreatment are more likely to fall through the cracks, compared to their white female and black male counterparts.

Crenshaw uses the word prism to describe the multi-angled lens through which we should view such complex issues.

 

To consider a complex phenomenon,

we should use a complex lens.

What does your lens look like?

 

Ted Talk:

Kimberlé Crenshaw’s The urgency of intersectionality

https://www.ted.com/talks/kimberle_crenshaw_the_urgency_of_intersectionality/transcript?language=en

 

Test your biases, literally. It takes 5 minutes.

Did you know that you can get tested for biases?

Caution: If you didn’t expect this already, you’re going to learn that we’re all affected by bias in our own ways.

Take the Implicit Association Test (IAT) test and don’t be ashamed of the result. I got my Masters degree reading and writing about the most subtle forms of gender biases, so you’d think that I’d be pretty good at checking my own bias in that area; but my test results suggested that I have a bias toward men (and against women) in the workplace. More specifically, I learned that my results are described as “Automatic association for Male with Career and Female with Family”, because I had a tendency to group men into work-related groups and women into family-related groups, under a time constraint. I could have sat down, taken my time, and chosen all of the correct answers carefully, but you are also judged on the time it takes you to respond to the questions.

When I really think about it, this makes sense. This explains why I, while waiting in the vet’s office to meet my new vet, was assuming I’d be meeting a male vet. This memory stuck with me because, when the female vet entered the room, I was faced with my own narrow thought process in that situation. And this isn’t the first time I made this type of association based on gender, but the good news is, just having this awareness is a huge step toward overcoming the impacts of bias.

Back to the test:

What the testing site does not end up telling you is how to change this. How to overcome this bias.

There are things you can do after taking a test such as the IAT; for example, I should apparently expose myself to more strong female leaders and CEOs, in the media or elsewhere, in order to increase my association there.

You can also get help directly addressing your group’s biases by taking them through training surrounding this topic of implicit bias.  Talk to us if this is something your group could benefit from.