Aggressive, Assertive or Passive?
'This is Who I am, This is What I Do'
Assertiveness and Personal Impact, by Tina Lamb
Changing what we do can be difficult indeed; changing people's perception of what we do is a whole lot easier.
And yet, sometimes our behaviour can be so badly misunderstood by others that conflict seems to be the only outcome.
Yet, if we all had a better understanding of just how those assumptions happen, we'd be in much better shape.
Here follows a true story to show just what I mean; I haven't changed the names because nobody needs protecting!
In the restaurant kitchen
My friend Geraldine is a brilliant and passionate chef, who was working in an exquisite French restaurant with a team of about seven people in her kitchen.
Geraldine is a gentle and sweet person but under pressure, when orders start pouring in, she can snap at someone in the team unexpectedly, after which everyone is slightly nervous and wary of her, thinking she's angry with them and consequently they make more mistakes.
Geraldine asked me one day how she could stop, as it was turning into a bad habit.
My answer, "You can't, you've been doing it so long it's now ingrained in your behaviour.
But, there is another approach."
A more practical approach..? Discussion!
So I asked her why she thought she snapped. "Because I care so much about how everything - looks and tastes - and I just want it to be the best it can be."
"Fine", I said, "next time you snap, immediately tell anyone involved that you just really really care about the food and that's what happens: when you feel the pressure try not to apologise", I suggested, "because it's not your intention to offend anyone".
So several weeks passed and Geraldine, also known as Gigi, rang to say that letting people know what was going on for her and that she wasn't cross with them was working quite well.
Simply owning the fact that she had snapped because she cared and felt under pressure seemed to have shifted how others viewed her.
The best thing happened tonight.
Two more months passed, Geraldine rang again, "The best thing happened tonight!"
"It was a typical Saturday night and we were heaving in the kitchen, tickets in, food out, the pressure was building and I felt it. I knew what was coming.
But suddenly, Jerome my Sous Chef raised his arms into the air holding a tea towel,
"Everybody!", he bellowed, "Gigi... is about to CARE!!".
There was this moment of silence then everyone laughed including me and the entire team put their heads down and got stuck in!"
Tina Lamb is an Impact Factory Senior Training Consultant, who has been with us for nearly a decade now.
She has an infectious and enthusiastic training style much revered by her clients.
Read more about Tina Lamb
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