Have you ever had someone talk down to you in a way that left you feeling utterly silly? Has your boss ever been the culprit who caused you to feel that way? What would those you lead say about you? While intuitively, we know that others don’t make us feel a certain way, the truth is we don’t believe what others say unless we already, to some degree, believe it to be true. So what do you do or believe when your boss “talks down” to you?
I go back to the idea that we don’t believe what someone else says about us unless we somewhat believe it to be true about ourselves. This is where you want to check your own sense of Contagious Confidence™ and question the validity of your own belief. Did you just make an assumption that this person thinks you’re stupid or do you feel somewhat less than confident in this area to begin with? Whatever your answer, this is your first step. We don’t argue with our own data, so make sure the data going in your head and whirling around up there, is true.
Nope, nothing’s on fire and yes, that line is correct. Stop, Drop, and Roll. Stop beating yourself up for not knowing the answer or action expected of you. Drop the repeated tongue lashings going on in your head. And roll with it for now. Sandler sales training facilitators are famous for saying “some will, some won’t, so what, next” and though that might sound a little black and white or condescending, you really won’t please everyone all the time and chances are the tone that boss used that sounded like she was talking down to you, was more about her day and her issues than you. Drop it and move on.
This is probably the most challenging step of all and much of its use will depend on the relationship you have with your boss. When the dust settles and you’ve gotten through some distance from the incident, think about what might be going on with your boss in addition to the event that led to this conversation of talking down to you. Try to put yourself in the moccasin’s he’s wearing as they say, and then ask the message sent was intended to create the feeling you got. No matter whose issue this is, you’re feelings have been affected and you have a right to assert yourself and ask if that was what was meant, but be veeeerry careful here. You’re not looking to pick a battle or make it worse. You’re looking for confirmation or contradiction of what you suspect is the case. Be sure you’re prepared for the answer, but at least you’ll have one for sure.
Difficulty comes in all shapes and sizes, tones, and tempers and this may be one of those times when you realize that you don’t have the skills you need to assert yourself or to address the situation in a way that makes you comfortable. We can help with those skills at our April Conference. Interested in learning more? Click here
Whether you’re able to join us in April or just have time for a quick read, these steps should help you mitigate some of the impact if you feel someone has talked down to you, even if it’s your boss.
Have a great Monday, an even better week and of course, stay contagious!
Monica Wofford, MBA, CSP, is an international speaker, trainer, and author who helps managers who were promoted, actually become prepared to lead.