What Would You Do Differently?

by Jul 21, 2012

What would you do differently?

What a powerful question.

They say hindsight is 20/20…

So looking back on that interaction with the bully you had today, what would you do differently? Did he or she say something that caused you to cringe, or question your own abilities? What did you do to react? What could you have done differently, now in hindsight? Is there something you can do now to be proactive, rather than reactive?

Looking back now while it’s fresh in your mind, what would you have done differently?

I don’t have an answer for you. You were there, and you felt your own emotions. So you have to answer this one yourself, but let me give you a little encouragement.

We consistently receive evaluation from other people, all the time. A particularly obvious person is the manager or human resources department at work. They are assigned the task of evaluating everyone in the company, and while they do many things to make the process easier and less damaging to the work force (such as calling them “reviews,” “goal-setting,” and “career development”), really, they are evaluating you and your work.

But what about you – do you ever evaluate yourself or your “work?” Self-evaluation is one of the most important kinds of evaluation, because only you know what really transpired and why you acted a certain way. But did you underperform or overperform? Did you do everything in your power to show the bully you weren’t the victim type? What could you have done differently to make that interaction better and more comfortable for you?

The only way we can learn to defend ourselves is to learn from the past. Evaluate the situation, come up with solutions to the challenge, and try again. Don’t allow your fears of the bully or what will become of you as a result of your standing your ground to get in the way – don’t let him or her stop you from achieving your goals.

Recommended Exercise:

Take a few moments to jot down a few notes about the most recent interaction you had with the bully, just to help you remember what happened.

Now, make a few bullet points and answer the following questions:

During the interaction I felt:
(Ex. scared, annoyed, frustrated, angry)

And my nonverbal communication showed it, because I was:
(Ex. looking down, not looking the bully in the eye, folding my arms in across my chest)

I felt this way particularly because:
(Ex. I was being yelled at in front of a peer)

Next time I have an interaction with the bully, I will:
(Ex. stand with my hands on my hips, look the bully in the eye, and address the bully with confidence in my voice because I know what I am talking about)

Give it a try…

Do you know how much money chronically bad behavior costs your company? Spoiler alert – it’s a LOT higher than you want it to be. Download our data and worksheet to see how it’s costing your organization and what you can do to fix it.


About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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