How To Speak Up And Challenge Others
Sadly at work and in life too, we will all face conflict and difficult times. Some people have no problem with this and, in fact, can even enjoy the cut-and-thrust of challenge and difficult times, seeing them as a golden opportunity to fine-tune their skills and assert themselves more.
For others, however, the position is very different: conflict is hard to handle and they retreat into a shell, rather than coming out and putting across the things that they want to say.
Speaking up is not always easy and can be a source of real worry and concern and some people step over the line and come across as confrontational, abrasive and even aggressive.
Such fear can be overcome by following some simple steps:
- Tell the other person how their approach is impacting upon you: This is all about getting the other person’s attention and should be short and to the point and delivered in a cold and unemotional manner: this should then make them think about their approach and the need to modify it.
- Explain, taking care to use descriptive and evaluative words, how their action makes you feel: why is this behaviour creating a problem so that the other person can draw a clear link between what has been said or done and its impact.
- Finish the conversation with your feelings: explain how their actions have impacted on both what you are doing but also your feelings as a person. Combining these two factors adds assertiveness to the message and should make the other party sit up and take notice of both their actions and their impact in the wider sense.
Your goal should be to provide a clear and specific message about the impact of the communication on a number of levels: you should also keep a log or record of conversations which have caused you distress and which have made you feel uncomfortable which will then show a pattern of behaviour over time. (This is important supplementary information which can be used to convince the other party of inappropriate or uncomfortable behaviour).
Getting the courage to speak up is not easy but the ability to speak openly and freely is an important aspect of contributing to a team-based, professional workplace.
For more information about our services visit the website www.davidsummertonconsulting.co.uk