Shall we fight or not sometimes?
While I'm preparing my program on assertiveness through coaching techniques, a thought comes to mind.
Being assertive, in my way of seeing it, implies that you will be diplomatic as well. I cannot imagine a person who is assertive and then goes crazy and fights with everybody in a uncontrolled way in order to defend an opinion.
Somehow this makes sense to me, since assertiveness usually happens when one has a clear mind and knows consciously what he/she wants to bring into the conversation.
However, the assertiveness principle is sometimes endangered when it comes to practical life for a person like me, coming from the south. We have what other cultures call "passion" - I mean this is just fire in your veins like anybody else, but we are boxed into the category of "passionate" or "dramatic" people. I have to admit that northern people might be right.
The other day, something happened that made me lose my mind, and yet I managed to keep diplomatic. After I answered in a diplomatic way and I told my friends about it, they said "You should have told him to go to **%&&&!! " For once that I was being extremely diplomatic in a situation which was clearly exaggerated, and my friends tell me I was not too passionate this time. One can never win.
But you know, as I told you last week, we can't make everybody happy! And it is safe to say that I was truly proud not to have been fighting that time. However, today I was thinking "what would other people do if they were in my shoes?" I am a coach and I need to prepare a program where people speak their mind and become more assertive and entitled to say what they mean.
The recipients of conversations can be intimidating sometimes - most people want to fight indeed and some others are just plain aggressive. How can I prepare people to be ready for this and still send my message through: that I believe in the power of diplomacy?
I tell you the story. I was on the bus here in Zurich. During my 9 years here, all sorts of things have happened. I got mistaken for a Jehovah's witness, I got screamed at from a pedestrian who was mad at my way of parking, I was not treated nice at the hospital once, I mean all things that happen everywhere. And yet, I was not done: the bus driver told me I was talking too loud over the phone and I was distracting him!
I thought it was a joke. The truth is that I was just laughing with my sister over the phone, I was sitting relatively close to him and probably this prevented him from focusing on his driving. I get that. However (today I am using a bunch of however and I love it), he told me in a very cranky way and ordered me to turn off the phone, since talking over the phone was forbidden on that particular bus.
There was no sign of talking over the phone being prohibited, and what I really wanted to tell him was" are you serious? This is like talking. If was laughing, would you forbid me to do that on the bus?" - and instead I asked him to show me where the sign was (the one that forbids the use of phones) and if the back of the bus was a good option for him. Because I needed to talk on the phone, which is the equivalent of a normal conversation. I liked my diplomacy - even though my sense of justice was deeply hurt and my dignity too (people were looking at me. Like I was so loud!).
I guess what I want to say here is that sometimes you cannot prevent a discussion or an unpleasant exchange. What is indeed needed is to make sure you are calm and do not bring your agenda into the conversation. I had had a very good day that day, thing that helped me not to fight with the bus driver - and I chose diplomacy over my anger towards my sense of justice.
Please, tell me what you think! and share.
Wanna get more assertive and diplomatic also with your boss? Do that through my program.