I want to talk about #everydaypowerlessness at work – the things which, on the surface, might simply seem annoying or frustrating and even trivial – but can, over time, erode your confidence, your self- belief and your ability to do great work.
Here’s some examples:
- Being talked over in a meeting (again and again)
- Passive-aggressive behaviour from a colleague
- Your ideas being dismissed, ridiculed or put to the bottom of the agenda
- Your manager cancelling your 1-1s – and re-scheduling – and cancelling……(please tell me you don’t do that… do you?)
If things like this are making you frustrated, anxious or annoyed then you have two simple choices.
Choice one – Do something about it.
Choice two – Do nothing about it.
For most of us there are ways we can own and retrieve our own power. AND get POWER WITH somebody – not POWER OVER them. That’s the basis of a good working relationship.
Most of us struggle with starting the conversation that helps us to actually DO this, though – it feels too flippin’ difficult!
So here’s what I have found really works.
- Decide to Be Kind. (Trust me, you can do this – you might have to dig deep. But you CAN do it.) Ask yourself: What might be the ‘well intended reasons’ he or she is behaving in a certain way? I can pretty much guarantee it is something to do with safety and survival. (The same way that you may not have addressed this situation until now – you want to survive!)
- Ask: What would a really kind, caring person say right now? A kind person who wants to address the issue concerned but also wants to understand the other person’s view of the world? What questions would that kind person be asking? How would that kind person be sharing their experiences? (See? You’ve found a different language already!) Write down your thoughts.
- Arrange a time and place to speak (speaking face to face where possible is the ideal). It may be a quick five minutes after a meeting or it might need a longer conversation.
- Keep being kind….. and being kind to yourself.
Kindness helps us find our power without having to fight, flee or freeze.
And that’s POWERFUL.