Rude comments, inappropriate comments IN THE WORKPLACE–What to do . . . .
Whenever I publish a Youtube communication skills or interpersonal skills video such as this one on rude comments, I will invariably receive a handful of posts such as: “I just tell ’em to f’ off” or “I just look ’em in the eye and tell ’em to drop dead. That works for me!” or “A quick sucker-punch shuts them up.” These comments, I would guess, come from people who have never said or done such things in their lives. They come from people who aren’t equipped with the word skills and attitude to handle inappropriate questions or comments or observations IN THE WORKPLACE, so they throw out simplistic ideas arising from their inability to deal with passive-aggressive (and sometimes aggressive) people and comments.. Why do I keep putting IN THE WORKPLACE in capital letters? I’m emphasizing the fact that the workplace is a unique environment with unique rules. There are things you can say in the bar or in the bedroom that you cannot say to anyone in your place of work. There is an etiquette established by custom and in some cases by law that dictates what comments are and are not appropriate (and in some instances legal) in the workplace. So if you are not going to punch someone out or swear at them, or act in some other negative ineffective way–what should you do when someone makes a personal comment to you at work? What if it’s your boss? What if it’s a co-worker you really like? What if it’s a customer you like? What if it is someone you don’t like? What if it is someone you don’t want to offend, but you DO want to call them out on their behavior and you DO want the behavior to stop? What if it’s your supervisor? (Yes this will work for bosses and supervisors too.)
One great line will help you stand your ground, be inoffensive, make the point and be within both civil and legal guidelines as you shut down rude comments in the workplace.
You need this one line in your communication arsenal, the next time someone says: “You did that pretty well–for a woman,” or perhaps “The way you dress must help you make sales with men. Keep it up!” How about “You NEVER would have been able to close him if you were a man. You must have really worked it.” And of course men receive some of those comments too. “You think just because you are a man you can intimidate me? Shut down the testosterone the next time you want to talk to me” or “You have quite a reputation for being a ladies man; don’t think that will work with me.” Or how about “You’re pretty smooth. Are you that smooth in the bedroom?” And of course there are hundreds of other examples of comments people make to one another–words and ideas–that have no place at work, and there is a big question in many instances as to whether they have any place ANYWHERE among civilized people. And they don’t all have flirtatious sexual components and undertones. They might refer to height, size, weight, personal preferences. They might include pejorative terms for your ethnicity. There is a broad range of personal rude comments that people make in the workplace that are inappropriate, vulgar, unseemly, sexist, racist–you get the picture. So the next time someone wants to unsettle you by making one of these comments, square your shoulders, look straight at them and say: . . . .
(You know how Yahoo makes you click 10 times before you get to the heart of the matter? Well this time you have to click just once. So go ahead; click on the video!
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