Sunday, 25 November 2012

Being Assertive

This month it has been my birthday. For the occasion a special friend bought me a wonderful present, a book: “The Rules of Work” by Richard Templar.
It was a pleasure reading it and I enjoyed reflecting on many concepts and suggestions (‘rules’ as the author writes) that are incorporated within the book. I am now very pleased to write a post on this.
In particular, the below marginalia are extracted from Rule 86 (‘Know how to handle other people’s anger’) and Rule 87 (‘Stand your ground’).
In Rule 86, R. Templar explains the concept of ‘TACTICAL ANGER’: “Tactical anger is used to make you do things you don’t want to. People lose temper to intimidate you. The worst thing you can do is to let them get away with it. If you do, they will keep doing it, to you and to others. You must stop them at once. Say: ‘I don’t like being shouted at/threatened/ intimidated/bullied/whatever, and I shall leave if you do not stop/calm down/put your fists down, whatever”.
The author also suggests that: “If they continue then just leave. Say nothing, just walk out of the room. Do this often enough and they will get the message”.
Rule 87 relates to Rule 86 and begins with:
No one is allowed to bully you, threaten you, shout at you, intimidate you, frighten you, tease you, victimise you or torment you in any way. You are an employee. If you are not doing your job properly, you should be taken to one side and have your mistakes pointed out calmly and rationally. Anything else is abuse.
You are allowed to refuse abuse. You are allowed, calmly and rationally, to tell them to stop at once or you are entitled to use the full weight of the law to get them stop (obviously, if someone says they will give you a slap if you pinch their hole puncher again, you can’t really expect the House of Lords to take up your case!).
You have to know when to stand your ground.
Standing your ground is about having standards, drawing a line in the sand and saying, “I will put up with this, but not this”, or “I will allow them to do this to me, but not this”.
Standing your ground is about being assertive.
If bullied, stick to the stuck record – ‘I don’t appreciate being treated like this. I don’t appreciate being treated like this. I don’t appreciate being treated like this’. Don’t lose your temper or they may feel they have won. Walk away”.
I think these topics are of extreme importance. In some respect, and with all my heart, I do hope that you did not, do not  and will never need to deal with these issues. Indeed, these are very delicate issues and unfortunately, we hear too often about them.
How wonderful and more productive would it be if all workplaces were full of kindness, warmth and consideration for other people feelings, emotions, voice and worth?!