We Have To Call Them On This Stuff

Social conventions tell us not to say anything when we witness less-than-effective (or worse!) behaviors such as BS, bad-taste jokes, drama, or poor treatment of others.  We don’t want to add to the problem by kicking up a fuss.

But, good leader (with or without title), we have to call them on this stuff. It’s our job.

Happily, we can do it with a minimum of fuss. The most effective way is to name what we just saw. First, we affirm in our minds that it’s the behavior not the person we want to address. This will help them remain open instead of getting defensive. Next we quietly, calmly name what we saw. Examples: “I notice you haven’t answered the question yet,” or “What you just said was disrespectful,” or “You seem to be reacting strongly.”

Then we let there be silence.

They will either get it and correct things or put up a fight. If they get it, thank them. If they put up a fight and their points are valid, say so: “You bring up a good point. Let’s discuss that next (or offline later).” If they put up a fight and they are just being defensive, say so: “You seem to quite defensive,” or, “I notice you’re putting up a fight instead of addressing the issue I raised.”

It can be uncomfortable, at first, to call out these behaviors. We need to do it anyway.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Ed Yourdon Football: Jets-v-Eagles, Sep 2009 – 29 via photopin (license)

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