I understand that sometimes you have to take the high road and ignore others when they try to get under your skin. It’s best to move on, and fight a different battle. For the most part, this is good advice.
However, there are times when you need to hold your ground. There are times when you must make a point. There are times when others need to know that you are not going to be pushed around, or made a fool.
Interestingly, we teach our kids that they need to stand up for themselves, but we sometimes forget to heed this advice. Until you are clear with others that you mean business, they will continue to try and get the best of you.
#1: When someone tries to embarrass you in front of others.
I don’t mind having a joke played on me. That’s fine. However, I don’t want to play the role of an idiot. When someone attempts to embarrass me in a public setting, such as in a meeting, I will make sure and respond. What you say is of less importance. The point here is that you make it clear that you do not appreciate it.
Again, I’m not referring to light-hearted jokes. I’m talking about that one guy in the office that wants to make you look silly so that he can get at laugh at your expense. Be bold, and make it clear that it’s not funny to you.
#2: Someone insinuates that you are incompetent.
The fact is that you are not incompetent. My guess is that you are a hard worker, and that you care about the quality of product or service you deliver. When someone mentions that you have mediocre abilities, make it clear that one mistake or event will not define you. Like everyone else, you will experience learning curves, and that will lead to performances that fall short of expectations from time-to-time.
As soon as possible, get back on track. Find a strong area, and make sure to exceed expectations. Do not let the downward spiral continue. It’s critical that you get traction, and start producing at a high-level.
#3: Someone says something about you that is untrue.
You must stop rumors as soon as possible. For example, a co-worker might be telling others that you are unhappy with your work, and that you are searching for employment elsewhere. As you know, this rumor can affect how your manager perceives you. It’s important you quickly identify how the rumor started, and squelch it.
The point here is that it doesn’t matter if what is being circulated has truth or not. You want to control the message, which means that you have to stop others from assuming they have the right to handle your media relations program.
The bottom line is that you have to stand up for yourself. Create a perception that you mean business and that you will not allow others to ridicule you, or make you look like a clown.
Once you have put your foot down, others will quickly know that they are picking on the wrong person. Your leadership team will appreciate a person who is strong-willed and will not take unnecessary abuse from others.