How do you react when you don’t get your way? What’s your typical response when you’re asked to do something you’re either not in the mood to do or that is outside your comfort zone? How about when someone in a position of authority makes a decision with which you don’t agree?
Nobody likes to be in these situations but they happen a lot in life, especially in the workplace…or at home growing up!
When you are in that position, you can take one of four approaches:
1 1. Push back or passively disregard. Argue with your supervisor and leave him with the impression you think he or she is incompetent. Or, take the passive route and just ignore or procrastinate responding to emails, assignments, and deadlines.
2. Stuff, stew, and spite. Suppress your irritation and maybe hold a grudge. Withhold any pertinent information you have that may help the boss make a better decision.
3 3. Cheerfully comply. Remember this is what you get paid to do. Consider that your supervisor (or parent) may be working with information and a bigger perspective that you do not have. Keep in mind that your future could depend on your ability to be a cooperative team player.
4. Respectfully request consideration of your input. If you are quite convinced there is a better option, look for a private opportunity to ask your supervisor (or parent) to consider your suggestion. Phrase your concerns as questions, such as, “Have you thought about …” or “Might it be a better solution if…?” Frame your concerns humbly and in such a way that it is clear your intention is to be helpful, not willful.
If you are an employee who can express your disagreements respectfully, knowing how to stand your ground while remaining open minded, your value will multiply in the eyes of your supervisor. On the other hand, if you are an employee who always has a different idea about how to do things, can’t be counted on to follow directions, or who has an “attitude” about being told what to do, your value will quickly diminish. You may soon find yourself looking for another job!
More often than not, you won’t have a choice in the matter when given a direction at work (and at home). So here’s a word to the wise: handle it as one of life’s inevitable unpleasantries. Take a page from Nike’s handbook, and “Just do it!” Not only will the Nike approach prevent you from irritating and even alienating others, but chances are that things will turn out fine after all—and you’ll earn a reputation for being a trusted and valuable employee.
What’s your attitude when things don’t go the way you want? Are you someone who tries to make the best out of difficult situations and be a team player? What advice would you give to a young person who is new on the job and in this situation? We’d love to hear your experiences and ideas!