“If people choose to engage on a one-dimensional level that’s fine. But going beyond the surface can enrich ourselves as human beings.” — Geri Halliwell
Lately the recurring theme people have been asking me about is what they can do when they encounter “assholes”.
Often we say things like “I guess that’s just the way they are”, but is that really the case? I’d really like to challenge that assumption.
Let’s say that you’re responsible for safety management at a company. The CEO comes in one day without proper credentials or attire. The guidelines, which he approved, dictate that you can’t let him pass.
You explain this to him and he replies: “You know I’m the CEO, right? Let me in or you don’t have to show up for work tomorrow.”
Obviously, this is an abuse of power. Not only does his actions impact his own safety, but also the safety of others. Ultimately though, it’s your responsibility.
Do you bend the rules? Do you let him pass? Do you stand up against him?
While it’s easy to moralize when we’re not in the middle of it, many of us would probably let him through. We aren’t prepared to risk losing our jobs or stand up to people in positions of authority. Especially when we aren’t prepared for it.
Well, what if they’d shown up and asked you to step away from your position to go do the dishes? To go park their car?
Clearly that’s not in your job description.
It’s important to remember that this isn’t about people being this way or that way. It’s about behavior.
I don’t know how many of you guys are into games like “Street Fighter 2”, but I think of it like this:
It’s like these people have learned how to Hadouken, and they spam the shit out of it until they beat the game.
Apparently it works for them, so why change a winning concept?
It isn’t until they meet an opponent where their tactics don’t work that they can start reconsidering their options.
In this case their Hadouken is “I’m the CEO.”
Well, good for you. I’m hired to do A, B, and C. You got your thing, I’ve got mine. Until that changes, I’m going to do my job. You do you.
It’s takes some major courage to call people out on it.
Also, it requires them to either question or change their behavior. Or, they could keep steamrolling people until the day they die. Either way, while a good outcome isn’t guaranteed, neither is it conducive for you to be in that environment.
Have you had a similar experience? How did/do you handle these kinds of situations?
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Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!