People we meet and have to see on a regular basis can have a negative affect on your life and self-confidence, but only if you let them. I am a person who would get dragged down by any negative comment made from a friend or by my boss for example. This article is about how to deal with these situations and how to not let these people and their comments make you feel like a second class citizen.
A few years ago I met a client(Ian) who described a similar scenario to me. He had been very successful in business and had reached the level of director in the company where he worked. We were discussing this very subject and he admitted that he had an over-aggressive boss who I think was the chairman of the company. I can not remember the chairmans name, however for the purpose of this article I will call him John.
Ian thought that John played a kind of business game, where he wanted to be seen as the boss and where he wanted everyone to be scared of him.
This was the situation Ian described to me. John would e-mail him in the morning with a question asking why the north-west of the country had not been as profitable in the last quarter compared to its usual levels. He would ask Ian to meet him in the afternoon to discuss his findings. Ian would then contact his line managers and would then write a report before attending the meeting with the chairman.
Ian was a person who had a slight speech impediment, a stutter. He would be able to talk fluently most of the time, however if he felt nervous or if he felt under pressure, he would then start having problems getting his words out and would stutter. Ian also had words he thought of as difficult and would often avoid these type of words. He was very careful when writing his report only to include words he felt confident he would be able to say.
In the afternoon who would go and meet John and present his report to him. He stated that he would have no problem with his speech at this stage and that the presentation would be delivered smoothly and fluently.
On hearing the report, John would not make any comment and would instead basically just stare at Ian, slowly nodding his head up and down at the same time. Ian described this as making him feel very uncomfortable and was just praying for the silence to end and for his chairman to say something. The words from the chairman would not come and so to break the silence Ian would then continue speaking giving more reasons which were probably not correct and that were certainly not planned. These words were also not spoken fluently but with Ian struggling and stuttering.
I had a little think about what Ian had told me and felt angry at John.
I eventually came up with a suggestion. I advised Ian to end his presentation with a question, for example, this is what I believe are the reasons, however I would value your opinion as chairman of the company.
He can then nod and stare for as long as he likes, it is his turn to talk next and Ian can sit there comfortably and just be patient.
It is very important that we do not let people like John drag us down. It is time to be strong and to stand up to these people.