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How Do You Let Others Know You’ve Been Impacted by Something They Said? Part III

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How Do You Let Others Know You’ve Been Impacted by Something They Said? Part III

This article is the final in a three-part series where I’ve been sharing ideas on how to let someone know that you have been impacted by their inappropriate behaviour. This article’s focus is on talking with someone who has perceived power over you.

In my Part II article, I took you through communicating with someone of equal or lesser power and in my Part I article, I provided a process to start the conversation. Ensure you read this Part I article before launching into the process outlined below.

This series of articles was brought about due to the number of times I hear stories where people are upset with how they’ve been spoken to either one-on-one or in a group, and they don’t know how to let the other person know. As Small Business owners, we need to know how to have these conversations with staff, consultants, suppliers and customers (and family and friends).

This article continues from the point where the person demonstrating the inappropriate behaviour has expressed to you, that they are okay. Now, you need to talk with them about the behaviour, its impact and how things need to be different from here on.

Things are okay – the next step.

Start by following the process outlined in my Part I article. If they say they are okay, then you have the inappropriate behaviour and details, ready to talk about and written down.

Set the scene of the inappropriate behaviour; talk about where you both were, who else was there, when it happened and ask what they recall of the comment/behaviour. Listen. Then explain the impact the behaviour had on you.

Ask them if they had intended for that negative impact on you to be a result of their comment/behaviour. Discuss what they were seeking from you by making such a comment/behaviour and then present ideas on how they could achieve what they want, in a way that does not devalue you, in the future.

Depending on the relationship you have with this person, you at the very least, need to keep a summary of this conversation. You may want to forward them a copy of your summary to ensure accuracy and also, so they realise you are serious.

If they choose not to alter their behaviour, your options are to:

  • Put up with it, which will impact your physical and mental health (not an option we want to enact).
  • Make a formal complaint to the relevant authority.
  • Review your options (e.g. if it’s with a landlord, when can you seek alternate premises?).

Before making a formal complaint to the relevant authority, ensure you have written down all of the examples of inappropriate behaviour you were directly involved in and the details of each event including how you discussed the issues with the other person, what they said/offered to do, and what happened as a result. Re-read your summary and check you have included as many facts as you can remember. Also, check to confirm you have separated the facts from your emotions; both are key elements, and sometimes people tend to focus on only one these elements.

If the outcome from the formal complaint doesn’t provide you with what you were after, you need to then consider ‘what next?’.

Weigh up all of your options to work out when is the best time for you to end this relationship. Consider the 80/20 rule – if you’re spending 80% of your time on 20% of the people (or this person) what value is it adding to you and your business?

We will come across people in our life who we will never understand, never be able to influence and never have a great relationship with. To work out whether you want to continue a relationship with this person from your business’ perspective, consider the consequences to you personally if you stay and their behaviour doesn’t change. What options do you have? Don’t let someone else negatively impact your life and your business.

If you can’t see any options, then connect with a business advisor and perhaps a counsellor. Talking through the issue with an independent person can lead to solutions you hadn’t yet thought of.

You, your support network (and your business) are worth that.

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