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

Connection is the key to setting boundaries

Speaking your Truth to Power
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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.

You can also request a quote: USA or Canada.

Is respect transactional?

Is respect transactional? What if someone doesn’t deserve my respect, based on my experiences with them?

Does all respect have to be earned? Or is there always an expected level of respect when meeting or working with someone?

When we feel disrespected, the common reaction is to respond in kind. We think this person doesn’t have respect for me so why should I have respect for them.

In a work environment, there is a minimum level of respect expected at all times – some would call this civility. I may not want to be your friend, or even friendly, but I have to respect you.

Easier said than done, at times.

Do you need help establishing more civility among your team?

You can read about our trainings and learn how to register here!

Avoiding Sexual Harassment in 2019

Confused about sexual harassment
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Are you aware of common behaviors that could be considered sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment involves any behavior, that is sexual in nature,  and can reasonably be understood as unwelcome  or unwanted.

Here are a few behaviors to avoid:

  1. Rating another person on an attractiveness scale (“They’re a 10”).  By doing so, you are actually discussing a person’s physical appearance with romantic undertones, which adds up to comments of a sexual nature.

  2. Discussing the nature of one’s personal life with references to sexual activity; you are referring to (personal) sexual activity while in the work context.

  3. Sharing sexually inappropriate photos/videos/emails with colleagues; content of a sexual nature has entered what should be a neutral, sex-free environment for work or study.

  4. Using terms of endearment such as honey, dear, or sweetie. Terms of endearment denote affection toward another person. This affection can reasonably be perceived as romantic in nature, and even sexual. Even though the person may mean nothing to you, it is the impact the behavior has on others that matters.

Remember!

Harassment is always about the IMPACT of your behavior and not about your INTENT.

As soon as comments/actions of a sexual nature become unwelcome by someone in the work context, the behavior falls into the sexual harassment bucket.

Following some basic communication rules will help you to avoid walking on eggshells.

Learn more about developing your capacity to think impact and avoid harassment by going to our website!

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.