At a charity golf outing, there was a lot of fun, teasing and drinking. A very drunk man, who knew none of us women in our group, was in the foresome ahead of us so we had some wait time together. His first reaction was to hug two of us. Not only was he sweaty, he did not have our permission to be touched. We tried to avoid him, but if he was near us, he’d try to put his arms around us. At first it seemed harmless, and then I felt the behavior was inappropriate. We all laughed it off, but didn’t like it. Toward the end, he went to hug one of our team and I put my golf club up between him and her. He turned and accused me of being a spoilsport saying he was just having fun. His tone was moving toward aggression. Luckily, we were done, our husbands were back, and he likely passed out in the back seat of someone’s car. I still struggle with how I should have confronted this very trivial situation.
Some tips from the book about confronting:
- Do I feel physically safe?
- Was the behavior intentional?
- Is the offender’s behavior unique?
When you experience a similar event, your sense of self becomes critical. Rather than accept the incivility and get dragged into negativity distraction and self-doubt, reframe the situation. Attribute the behavior to the perpetrator, not yourself. If you think about the destructive behavior as something they have chosen, you will not blame yourself. Clearly, I have skipped this piece of advice (see above) – Stop ruminating. Stop blaming and or even thinking about the person. Focus on gratefulness. Don’t give up your energy.
In my office (Moser Consulting), even as an IT company we have a great diversity of thought. Brilliant minds ask brilliant questions and love to discuss details of pretty much everything. As a highly theoretical person, I love to participate and watch the ways our team can collaborate and learn as a community. Learning in community is my life calling.
That said, it is not rare that someone’s opposite opinion is not respected. Sometimes, we don’t really know how to address this. Confronting behavior is usually the domain of the attacker and the attacked pulls back based on fear of the negative emotion and confrontation. This is true in most groups of people.
Our leader / CEO Ty Moser is a quiet, soft spoken genius who only speaks when it’s important. I’m going to start a new tagline in the office. I’ll put up some posters that say “What Would Ty Say?” He is never confrontational and always well spoken, yet confronts effectively. Who’s your Ty? Is it you?