Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What would you have done differently?

What would you do differently?

What a powerful question.

They say hindsight is 20/20...

So looking back on that interaction with the bully you had today, what would you do differently? Did he or she say something that caused you to cringe, or question your own abilities? What did you do to react? What could you have done differently, now in hindsight? Is there something you can do now to be proactive, rather than reactive?

Looking back now while it's fresh in your mind, what would you have done differently?

I don't have an answer for you. You were there, and you felt your own emotions. So you have to answer this one yourself, but let me give you a little encouragement.

We consistently receive evaluation from other people, all the time. A particularly obvious person is the manager or human resources department at work. They are assigned the task of evaluating everyone in the company, and while they do many things to make the process easier and less damaging to the work force (such as calling them "reviews," "goal-setting," and "career development"), really, they are evaluating you and your work.

But what about you - do you ever evaluate yourself or your "work?" Self-evaluation is one of the most important kinds of evaluation, because only you know what really transpired and why you acted a certain way. But did you underperform or overperform? Did you do everything in your power to show the bully you weren't the victim type? What could you have done differently to make that interaction better and more comfortable for you?

The only way we can learn to defend ourselves is to learn from the past. Evaluate the situation, come up with solutions to the challenge, and try again. Don't allow your fears of the bully or what will become of you as a result of your standing your ground to get in the way - don't let him or her stop you from achieving your goals.

Recommended Exercise:

Take a few moments to jot down a few notes about the most recent interaction you had with the bully, just to help you remember what happened.

Now, make a few bullet points and answer the following questions:

During the interaction I felt:
(Ex. scared, annoyed, frustrated, angry)

And my nonverbal communication showed it, because I was:
(Ex. looking down, not looking the bully in the eye, folding my arms in across my chest)

I felt this way particularly because:
(Ex. I was being yelled at in front of a peer)

Next time I have an interaction with the bully, I will:
(Ex. stand with my hands on my hips, look the bully in the eye, and address the bully with confidence in my voice because I know what I am talking about)

Give it a try...

1 comment:

Melissa Paulik said...

I find it helpful to have several non-commital phrases in the arsenal for such times. Responses like...

"That's good to know."
"That's worth considering."
"I'll give that some thought."

Bullies are often people with strongly held opinions who are convinced they are right. Statements like these can help the bully feel heard, but don't really commit you to anything.

One of the best techniques I ever learned was from a guy who was a bit of a bully himself. There were actually times when he didn't have a well thought out opinion. Being fairly clever he knew he needed to keep his mouth shut for the time being. He would just say things like "hmmmm" and tilt his chip up - but NOT nod in agreement.

This is a good tool for whenever any words uttered will just prolong the confrontation. Victims are totally silent so this at least gives you some power.