Today we are going to talk about how to train the people around you how to treat you.
The truth of the matter is that we are all human and we have very different approaches to work, to being heard in meetings, getting things done, leadership, collaborating, speaking the hard truth and the list goes on. In my experience these are code words for an experience or an approach. We fling these words around and we assume that you and I have a shared understanding of the same thing and often times we don’t. Recently, I was doing some reading on how to get your voice to be heard in the room and I ran across Mary Rowe. Back in 1970s, she came up with the concept of micro-inequities. Those little inequities which are, in her words, “apparently small events which are often ephemeral and hard to prove events which are covert, often unintentional, frequently unrecognized by the perpetrator which occur wherever people are perceived to be different”.
She explains, it’s things like interrupting a person mid-sentence or knowingly mispronouncing a person’s name, rolling your eyes, sighing loudly, raising your voice even though the other person has no difficulty hearing you. The list goes on. We’ve added a few here at StepUp Leadership: checking emails or texting during a face to face conversation, not listening to others or only listening to a chosen few in a room, not including people on email strings, even body posture. This is far from an exhaustive list and it is annoying, right? This happens all the time and it happens to all of us. So, it is not about the conditions or that “other” person. In our experience, it’s about you. This is the good news and the bad news. You are the only person who can do something about how you are treated. At StepUp, we have this saying we share all the time with one other and with the people we are dealing with: you are training the people around you all the time how they can treat you.
So, now, what do you do about that? We all know these things go on; but what can you do about it?
Well we’ve come up with an acronym and we are basically claiming that there are seven things you could try out. This is not a step-by-step how to but is the work you can do to begin to shift the dynamic. The acronym is called A CHOICE.
- “A” stand for assume positive intent. Mary Rowe talks about this; a lot of people are just unconscious that they’re even doing something that might be disrespectful. If you actually begin with the mindset that this person is not trying to hurt you then you can assume positive intent and that they are probably not even aware of their impact.
- “C” stands for being Calm. Get unhooked, centered, grounded. Do whatever you need to do to unhook yourself.
- “H” stands for humor. What if you assert your message with humor and lightness? You could try out, with a smile in your voice, “Do you know you never look me in the eye in our meetings?” or “You never ask for my input when we are in these large meetings, why is that?” We encourage you to try on humor/lightness and know you are going to have to be calm and get unhooked or centered in order to be able to do that.
- “O” stands for own your message/voice. Only you can do this.
- “I” stands for intrude. Interrupt and take the room back if someone has interrupted you! You can lightly interrupt them, “Hey hang on a minute, I haven’t actually finished my thought”, and take the room back and finish your thought.
- “C” stands for choice. Call it out gently. Do it on a one-on-one and do it with curiosity. Pull them aside after the meeting and go “Hey, I don’t know if you realize this but I notice that you only speak to John when we have these group meetings. I think you might be missing out on what others think.” You can also get some help from other people in the room if it keeps happening.
- And finally, “E” stands for engage. Decide how you want this person to move with you.
So, we encourage you to play around with some of these:
You have A CHOICE!
Assume positive Intent
Calm – get unhooked, centered, and grounded
Humor – assert your message with humor and lightness
Own your message and voice
Intrude – interrupt and take the room back
Call it out gently – one on one, with curiosity
Engage decide how you want this person to move with you
So, in closing leadership is one of those words that we throw around a lot. It can be hard to be a leader. It can be lonely. And, it really does take courage. It requires you to notice something that is going on and then choose. Make a choice to actually speak up and do something different. In my experience most people, not all, are simply unconscious of the impact that they’re having on you. So, I dare you to think about three things as you move forward.
- What would you do if you were not afraid?
- How do you want to be treated?
- How can you help the people around you know what is okay and what is not okay?
This is your life, these are your relationships. So, I say go for it!
Thanks for joining us for this week’s “Five-minute Epiphanies to Mine the Mess for Success: Tips, Snippets and Stories.” Join us next week where we will be taking a deeper dive into what is some of the work you need to do in order to start training the people around you how to treat you.