Meraki Truism #3 – Yes, and …

In my previous post, Big Revolution when being played small, I mentioned that it is mandatory to avoid someone putting you in an either/or dichotomy.

In her interview with David Letterman on “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction,” Tina Fey talked about the skills needed to be great at improv. This boils down to “yes, and.” We need to acquire this skill in life. When someone comes at you with an either/or situation, we need to think of what benefits us and frame it as “yes, and.” Here’s what that looks like:

Either you are going to work overtime without pay (illegal, but still happens), or we will find someone who will. Yes, I will get the work done that needs to be completed, and I will find a way to do it during my regularly scheduled hours. How are some ways I could do that? I can delegate any “busy work” that currently falls to me by saying “I have to work on these goals that were set by XYZ, so is it possible that someone else, such as whoever you think is best suited for the task, take on those responsibilities at this time?” Then, when you are at work at someone tries to pawn off additional tasks on you, point them to the work you have to get done so that you do not have to work overtime. “Yes, that is important, and I know someone will do a good job with that while I am working on these other tasks.”

Either you are going to be accommodating, or we will find someone who makes us feel how we want to feel. “Yes, I see that this is a culture where that is considered to be appropriate, but I was hired because I have these skills, and the culture that would most benefit my performance is this…”

If you were not hired for your skills, time to start looking for a place that will value what you bring to the table, not just your looks and how you make other people feel.

When you identify an either/or proposition coming your way, find some way to get a bit of alone time (the bathroom works if you don’t have a private office!) and think through your “yes, and” approach. Get your head on straight, take a deep breath, and deliver your “yes, and” alternative.

Of course, if you are in a threatening situation, there is no “yes, and.” If you find yourself in that sort of situation, get out and get safe. No job is worth you sacrificing your safety.

Resources for workplace harassment:

Department of Labor Safety Issues – (202) 693-1999

Know your rights and know the policies: https://www.dol.gov/oasam/hrc/policies/dol-workplace-violence-program-appendices.htm

Violence in the workplace – Women’s Bureau (202) 219-6665

If you find yourself in one of this situations, let me know. I am glad to act as a sounding board – Contact Me.

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