Let me get right to the point. I have changed the entire way that I speak and communicate at work because I want to be liked. I don’t want to be the stereotypical difficult woman, which is the name that gets thrown around at any female who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go and get it. When we’re children we’re bossy, and when we’re adults, we’re ‘difficult’ I’m just like you: I want people to like me. Most people at least. Not idiots.
I want people to like me. Most people at least. Not idiots.
I hadn’t realised it until recently, but one of the main ways I try to make this happen is by taking away my own power and authority when I’m speaking. Without even thinking I soften myself down in pretty much every sentence that comes out of my mouth (or is tapped out of my fingers). “You said this presentation would be ready by the end of last week.‘ becomes, through the ‘I want you to think I’m nice’ prism, closer to ‘Erm, hi, sorry to interrupt, I was just wondering if you’d maybe had a chance to start thinking about that presentation at all yet?‘
Put ‘This work is nothing like we discussed. It’s going to need to be re-done before it goes to the client.’ through the ‘I’m not at all difficult, I’m here to help you’ lens, and it shrinks back and withers away into ‘Thanks so much for this. Do you happen to have an editable version of this? I just need to make a few little tweaks before it goes across. Great job though.‘
‘Thanks so much for this. Do you happen to have an editable version of this? I just need to make a few little tweaks before it goes across. Great job though‘
Whilst, like all of our mums told us, it’s nice to be nice, and it does make people warm to me – it also leaves me looking and feeling a little like a doormat. Everything has to be diplomatic, nothing is ever an issue, and if I’m always ‘just wondering‘ about things I’m never really owning or controlling them. Despite me being the only one with the project plan. I love a good project plan.
So, for lent I’m giving up ‘just’ I’m not ‘wondering’ any more, and I’m done with ‘maybe‘. I’m still going to be nice, but I’m not going to belittle myself in the process of it. I’m going to be more direct and forceful and, if it’s called for, difficult.
I’m not sure what the outcome will be, I don’t know if it will help me or hold me back. But for 40 days I’m going to be clear and direct, I’m going to be unflinching and unapologetic for taking peoples time and communicating what I need. I’ll let you know how it goes.