General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Is There a Polite Way to Tell Her She Sounds Ineffectual?

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jaxsue:
WillyNilly, I can't copy and paste because I am on an iPad, but yes, I do see big differences between the 2 places. General differences that add up. But this thread is not about this, and I don't want to derail it.

There was no offense intended, but I removed the offending part from my post. Sorry (habits die hard)!  :)

Giggity:
Why not just ask her why she begins every sentence by apologizing?

Hmmmmm:

--- Quote from: Mental Magpie on February 02, 2013, 06:13:56 PM ---
--- Quote from: Hmmmmm on February 02, 2013, 05:47:46 PM ---
--- Quote from: Hillia on February 01, 2013, 11:56:44 PM ---
--- Quote from: nrb80 on February 01, 2013, 12:04:57 PM ---
--- Quote from: NyaChan on February 01, 2013, 08:27:05 AM ---I will be honest and admit that I do this with certain people.  For example, the secretary at my pro bono place is much older than most of us students, and has worked there longer than I've been alive.  Is it her job to go make me a copy or bring me a pen or refill the tea bag drawer? Yes, but I apologize so that she doesn't feel like some kid can just walk in and demand she get up from her desk and go do their bidding.  Could I do that? Yes, and some other students do, but she likes me better :)

--- End quote ---

As an aside, I'm a lawyer, and this is the single biggest mistake I made in my career.  The age thing is overwhelming, and I do think this is an issue for most women, particularly young women who have been raised to be polite and give great respect to their elders.  It took years to build my backbone, remember that I was the lawyer and the manager, and to assert authority.  It's hard.

--- End quote ---

I've recently recognized that I phrase every interaction with my employees as a request, and many of them aren't.  I've been working on breaking myself of the habit.  So instead of 'Could you please run the TPS reports?' I'm working on 'Please run the TPS reports...thank  you'.  They really don't have the option of whether or not to perform the task, so I don't need to ask them, just tell them, politely and respectfully of course.

--- End quote ---

Hilla, I do the same about 80% of the time.  I personally prefer a boss say would you do X, I need itby Friday versus do X by Friday. I've never been confused about it being a question and I don't believe my employees are. It's sort of like saying "would you excuse me" when your leaving the table to go to the restroom. Your dining companions aren't going to really think they have the option.

I'm curious why you are trying to change. Where you counciled that it seemed ineffectual?

--- End quote ---

I think the difference between what you're saying and what Hillia was saying is "could" versus "would".  I would be irritated to hear "could" but "would" wouldn't even register.  It is a direct request whereas "could" is a question of whether I am capable and/or want to.

--- End quote ---

Thanks.  I wasn't picking up on that. I do avoid could unless I'm really asking if something is possible.

Auntie Mame:

--- Quote from: Mental Magpie on February 02, 2013, 06:13:56 PM ---I think the difference between what you're saying and what Hillia was saying is "could" versus "would".  I would be irritated to hear "could" but "would" wouldn't even register.  It is a direct request whereas "could" is a question of whether I am capable and/or want to.

--- End quote ---

Yes, thank you!  That's what I was trying to articulate.  I am perfectly capable of doing my job, otherwise I wouldn't be there.  Would I do this for you?  of course I will.

travestine:
Being Canadian, where we speak English, French and 'apologize", 'sorry' is pretty much a way of life. BUT - the prof is excessive. To me, it sounds like a lack of self-esteem - degrees and advanced education don't guarantee confidence. She may genuinely feel that she is troubling anyone she asks for assistance.  I think the OP would be doing her a service to take her aside and have a quiet discussion about her excessive use of the word "sorry". I think just trying to 'correct' her behaviour by saying 'what for' or 'I'm just doing my job' is a trifle PA and may even embarass her and make the situation worse, from her perspective.

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