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Workplace Communication: The Magic Formula For Working With Bullies and "Know It Alls" At Work
One of the most irritating aspects of workplace politics is trying to communicate and convince employees or co-workers who take a Macho attitude. Everyone knows how hard it is to develop and share ideas with someone who knows it all or has to be at the center of attention.
How many times have major decisions been made to assuage someone's ego or to prevent someone from losing face? Just listen to media interviews. When the interviewer asks if someone was surprised by the turn of events, rarely if ever will the person admit to being surprised. That would be saying that they did not already know everything there is to know.
All of us become Macho at times. Notice your reaction when one of your parents tells you what to do!
To make sure that even someone who has become Macho will consider your ideas, you could use the Macho Test as an editing technique. While I have formalized the Macho Test, you probably have already done something like this yourself to make sure your important messages get through to your employees or co-workers.
Before you speak or write, ask yourself have you stated or implied the following:
If any of the above are stated or implied, it does not pass the Macho Test! You may wish to rephrase as follows:
You probably already know exactly who the Machos are in your work life. From my years helping people solve communication problems, I have learned that most of the effort is in getting someone into a mental and emotional state of openness, where they will be able to hear what I am saying. When we are successful at getting people to listen and take us seriously, it is because we have pried open enough mental space in the other person for our words to go in. Don't believe me? Try it out for yourself. Once your communications pass the Macho Test, your employees and coworkers who you're addressing will stop being Macho and become more willing to participate in the free flow of ideas.
About the Author: Shelle Rose Charvet, author of Words That Change Minds and Presenting Ideas to Skeptical People, consults, speaks and writes on what makes people do what they do. If you would like to receive free tips on how to influence and persuade your coworkers and employees, subscribe to Shelle's Irregular Newsletter