Taylor was in a great mood. The world was all right, and she knew it would be a lovely day. However, she wasn’t at work a good half hour when Melinda walked in and gave Taylor an off-handed grimace, dropped a stack of bulging folders on her desk without a word or explanation and walked away. She dropped them so hard she knocked Taylor’s pen from her hand and a few of the papers on her desk flew on the floor.
Taylor became enraged; she followed Melinda, proceeded to yell at her, and a shouting match ensued. She was now a part of an unprofessional spectacle. For the rest of the day, Taylor couldn’t shake it. She kept talking about how she was having such an awesome day and Melinda wrecked it; she made her so mad.
I think we would all agree she had the right to be angry. Plus, this wasn’t the first time Melinda had been so rude. However, Taylor relinquished her personal power and allowed Melinda to control the way she responded and even her emotions for the rest of the day.
The workplace is filled with every personality type: people who are emotionally injured, people who are devoid of self-awareness and people who try to dominate others. However, we often forget that no one can control our emotions, unless we give them the power. Do not give another such power over you.
Though wronged, Taylor could have chosen to refuse to allow Melinda to destroy her day and cause her to act in a way that diminished her professional persona. She could have exercised restraint, taken a few breaths and later when she was in full control and not so emotionally charged, she could have approached Melinda, looked her in the eye and told her in no uncertain terms, “Melinda, when you dropped those folders on my desk, knocked my pen out of my hand and walked away without a word, I felt disrespected. Don’t you ever drop anything on my desk like that again. In the future, if you don’t know where to put them, ask and provide an explanation of what needs to be done, and I will be happy to accommodate you. I am a professional, and I believe you are too. I thank you for your professional courtesy as we work together to get the job done.” Drop mic and walk away.
This would need to be done in private of course. If you challenge people in front of others, they will fight back just to save face. Be calm, matter of fact and firm. Address the behavior and be clear about what you expect. Tell them how they made you feel instead of attacking them. If Taylor said she felt disrespected, no one could argue with that. However, if she accused Melinda of being rude, that could be up for debate. Don’t hold a grudge and resist the temptation to make this the subject of conversation with other co-workers, or you will play a part in helping that negative energy to grow. Forgive and go enjoy the rest of your day. If you fail to forgive, you are giving that person power. Harboring bad feelings is toxic for you.
If you need one-on-one coaching to help you to survive the workplace and increase your power to influence send me an email to inquire about my coaching services.
- Kim Welcome is the CEO of Influential Voice. A communication trainer and coach, she assists businesses and professionals to achieve their goals by helping them to develop deliberate, skillful, polished communication skills. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 242-225-9013.