The Thursday Special

Last  Week’s Scenarios

Scenario #1

The co-worker who is yelling at you.
The passive aggressive response is: listen patiently; say nothing; walk away.

The best action for resolving the problem is: Match her loudness and intensity

Scenario #2

The co-worker who has body odor

The passive aggressive response is: leave a care package of hygiene items.

The best action for resolving the problem is: ask the boss to relocate you. (The boss is the person who should speak to the offending person.)

Scenario #3

The co-worker who interrupts you.

The passive aggressive response is: write an anonymous note.

The best action for resolving the problem is: request a meeting; bring a sign.

Scenario #4

The co-worker who smokes

The passive aggressive response is: hide Pete’s cigarettes.

The best action for resolving the problem is: talk to Pete about assuming more of the work load.

This Week’s Scenarios

Scenario #1

Your 14 year old son comes home from school and tells you that one of the kids in his class – a small, meek, and very smart little boy – is being bullied by a few of the bigger kids in the class.  What advice should you give to your son?

Scenario #2

You are a sweet young thing just out of school.  This is your first job. Your boss is on vacation and his second in command has been making sexual overtures with looks and comments.  Today he returned from lunch a little drunk and attempted to grope you.  What should you do?

Scenario #3

Your teenaged daughter Allison is tall and skinny with a mouthful of braces.  She is also brilliant and has been awarded a full ride scholarship to MIT.  Last night you came into her room and found her dissolved in tears.  Someone in her class had written some really nasty things about her on Facebook.  What should you say to your daughter?

Scenario #4

It was a very bad recession; good jobs were difficult to come by.  Company president, Brutal Bob Walker decided to cut the salaries of his employees by 20%.  When his most accomplished manager, Cassandra Ward, complained, Brutal Bob laughed and said, “Times are tough.  You can’t go anywhere else. I have you all by the short hairs.  I could probably drop your salary another 10% and there’s nothing you can do about it.”  If you were Cassandra, what would you do?

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Comments

  • Brooke Sawyer  On April 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    While I enjoy reading your blog, and particularly your Thursday Specials, I must respectfully disagree with much of the advise you posed to last week’s scenarios.

    Navigating sticky situations in an office setting can be difficult, but in my opinion, if dealt with calmly and rationally, direct communication does the trick. In the instance of being yelled at by a co-worker, I can’t fathom matching their tone and intensity. Doing so only escalates the situation, causing more tension and disrupting the rest of the office. Instead, I’d be far more prone to simply diffuse the situation by bringing the volume down and redirecting the conversation. The same attitude can be taken when dealing with a co-worker who tends to interrupt; simply bring it to their attention that they seem to become so invested in conversations that they have a tendency to speak over people. In my experience, causing others to reflect on their own behavior often results in higher levels of self-awareness, and eventually, a change in behavior.

    I’ll certainly be interested to see how you address this week’s scenarios, as I find this exercise quite thought-provoking. Keep them coming!

    • deannerosenberg  On May 17, 2011 at 3:03 pm

      Your point regarding loud, hostile anger from a co-worker is well-taken. Let me explain where my information comes from – neurolinguistic programming – which suggests that a person who is literally lost in their emotionality has a barrier to hearing what anyone else has to say. In order to break through that barrier, one must match the emotional person’s intensity and volume MOMENTARILY and then continue speaking at a more normal level. This shocks the emotional person out of their mental set so they can now hear you and they should respond then without this emotional out of control behavior. In addition, this illustrates to the emotional person that you are in complete control of your emotions and they are not in control of theirs. To illustrate this in print…let’s say you are a customer service person with a screaming person at the end of the phone line. The words you wish to speak are “I really want to help you” but you say it this way, “I really want to HELP YOU.”

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