Okay, in the words of Michelle Obama, “When they go low, we go high.”
Yes, there is no question about it, that is the right thing to do.
My friend, Qaijuan Willis said, “Lord, don’t let my gift take me where my character can’t keep me. I am your student, teach me.”
This struck a cord with me. As I mentioned in the video above, I have a challenge in front of me and I am trying very, VERY hard to do the right thing.
I am supposed to have a meeting with someone this afternoon, and who it is should not matter, nor should the subject matter. The real issue is the why and the how. Why is this person in my life and what are we talking about. And finally, how am I going to react?
I already know the subject matter and unfortunately, this person has created a scenario of division. The main question on the table is how will I react?
If you knew me in my 20s, you KNOW how I would react. I would have an attitude the moment this person came in the door and would have taken every opportunity to snip and snap at them. In my 30s, I would have sat across this person with a RBF and just undercut them every chance I got. But now, in my late 40s, I know better. I can do better. But I still have a desire to do choice A or choice B. It is within me. The trick is can I keep the old me at bay?
I’ve read multiple books on dealing with difficult people, as well as books on setting boundaries with toxic people. This person has a reputation of being verbally abusive in meetings, specifically to women. If I had a choice, I would NOT meet with this person. However, I do not have a choice. I thought about what I would tell a friend or how I would instruct a mentee when dealing with someone like this. Here is the advice I need to take:
- Be calm (This is the most important. For me, that may mean a little prayer and meditation after lunch.)
- Understand the person’s intentions. I am very clear on what is happening, I need to try to put myself in their position.
- Get some perspective from others. I have invited 2 of my team members to be in the meetings, though this person would prefer to meet with me alone. I do not work for this person, so I am able to dictate how this works.
- Let the person know where you are coming from. I will be clear, calm, concise, and matter-of-fact.
- Build a rapport. It is always easier to control a situation if they believe you are on their side. I can at the very least, attempt to set the tone for our working relationship.
- Treat the person with respect. I have been in meetings where there was little respect for me and I know how that feels. I need to push my personal judgement aside and be kind and respectful
- Focus on what can be actioned upon. That way there is a way to prove that I am compromising, yet keeping set within my boundaries.
- Ignore. According to Business Insider, if you have tried everything and the person is still not receptive to your position. I would have done everything I could to be flexible – but if it comes to bite me… then there is….
- Escalate to a Higher Authority for Resolution. This is considered the trump card and shouldn’t be used unless you’ve completely exhausted your means. Sometimes, the only way to get someone moving is through the top-down approach, especially in bureaucratic organizations.
At the end of the day, it really isn’t as big of a deal as I am making it. I think I am more so disappointed with some other people in our community for being so gullible and backing this person.
It is what it is.
And at the end of the day, what no one realizes, if this ends up causing issues for me down the road, it will be the catalyst for me making some sweeping changes.