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? 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!

There’s Always a Bridge

On August 10, 2009, in attitude, behavior, by Charles G

 

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Here is a brief piece of advice that will help you when connecting with someone who may be outside your culture or ethnicity.

There is always a bridge.

Believe it or not, we instinctively put forward pieces of information about ourselves in hopes of creating a bridge. Offers of information can be blocked or accepted. Think of this instinctive behavior as improvisational theater where actors attempt to create a coherent scene without rehearsal or a script. What keeps this form of theater coherent? Each actor accepts what he or she is offered. The principle can be expressed using the phrase “Yes, and..” That is, an improv actor accepts an offer and builds on it.

Here are some sample offers of information and how one can accept and build on them to create a bridge.

Example 1
Offer: “I’m working on a new process for speeding transfers between manufacturing and shipping.”
Accepted: “It’s about time.” or “That should be interesting.”
Building: “Is there anyway I can help?” or “What part will be the most challenging part to implement?”

Example 2
Offer: “I just moved here from Florida.”
Accepted: “Really”
Building: “How long did the move take you?” or “How do you organize such a major move?”

Remember, it’s not if you can connect, it’s what you can connect about.

Learn well!

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