Ditch the "it won't do any good" mentality
January 6, 2010, 11:15am PST | Length: 00:03:02
It seems to be an ailment running rampant in the corporate world. People would rather just seethe silently over their workplace issues than take the initiative to speak with someone about them.
Toni Bowers: In today's video, I'll talk about something that seems to be sweeping the working world -- the inability to say what's on your mind.
Some of my newest friends would never believe me when I say this, but up into my early 20s, I was painfully shy. I'm not sure what happened, maybe just life experience, but I've grown out of it. I don't think I'm too aggressive or talk so much that people are pooling their money to buy industrial size rolls of duct tape for my mouth, but I'm no longer afraid to express myself.
That's because I've learned that expressing yourself may not always get you what you want, but NOT expressing yourself will NEVER get you what you want.
Have you ever known a passive-aggressive person and made that person angry in some way? Every "What's wrong?" is answered with "Nothing," although you can see him seething or pouting. And it's not true that if you cared about the person, you would know what you did. Sometimes you just don't know unless you're told.
Some people think that that they are SO irritated or angry by a situation that somehow their thought bubbles will make their way down the hall and around the corner to their boss's office and magically absorb into his consciousness.
Unless you work for the psychic friends network, it just doesn't work that way. If you've got a beef, the only way to get it out there is to, well, get it out there. And not just to the three colleagues who sit around you.
I hear a lot of people in the workplace use the words "It won't do any good" when referring to why they don't bring a problem to the attention of management. Sometimes that's true.
Sometimes you can describe a problem to a nodding, smiling manager until you re blue in the face and get nothing accomplished. That's because some managers are afraid that if they heed your words or use your advice, it will be like admitting they're somehow deficient in their own role. Sometimes they think they know better than you. Sometimes they just don't care. Sometimes they think the solution to the problem would take too much energy. But, sometimes, just sometimes, pointing out a problem could be the first step in making a difference. I think it's worth the chance.
Of course, you don't need to barge in, put your foot up on the boss's desk, and say, "OK, listen up, lady, we got a problem." It requires some finesse. It requires preparation and a logical -- not emotional -- presentation of facts. It also requires that you be open to the possibility that what appears to be wrong to you might be right for business reasons that you're not privy to. But at least you will have tried.
In short, you never really know for sure if something will do any good. The more important question to ask is "Will it do any harm?" If not, give it a try.