Author Topic: I know I didn't need to tell them, but it worked - Good update #31  (Read 7262 times)

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HelenB

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I know we talk about not getting into JADE (Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain) with difficult people. But is that the same as giving people a blunt reason for something, and is it rude?

I'm having a blunt week. 

Brief background:  During a different medical emergency, my doctor found a growth on my {part of my body}.  These growths are generally not dangerous, and if not benign, easy to treat. But, it is important to find out if they are benign or not.  It took about a month and a half to get into a {specialist for this}, and after meeting with her I wanted the first possible biopsy appointment I could get. I scheduled the biopsy for a time when I had no work meetings scheduled. 

As I was getting ready to leave for the appointment yesterday a coworker told me he was having a meeting and they needed me there.  I told him I had another appointment and couldn't make it, but he insisted that the world was ending and I had to drop everything and be at his meeting.

So I told him that I was going to the hospital to have needles stuck into my {part} so they could get cells out and see if I had cancer, and this was more important to me than his meeting. He froze for a second and then agreed with me.

Today, someone reported that a mistake was found in a database set up, caused by someone in a group that does the same things my group does (but that we don't control -- there's a long story behind why everyone thinks I have any control over the other group). 

The person who caught the error wanted to know what kind of re-training would be done for that person so that she wouldn't make this mistake again. Very insistent on the exact plans for just that person. So I ended up telling him, "Well, she's dead, so I'm positive she'll never do it again.  Here's what we can do to try to stop others from doing it..."

Too blunt? Or, just being honest? I honestly tried to not be specific about the situations, but it didn't work.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2013, 01:38:05 PM by HelenB »

MyFamily

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Re: I know I didn't need to tell them, but it worked
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2013, 07:24:59 PM »
First of all (((hugs))) and I hope your test results are good.

That said, I think you were rude.  You could have given the same information over without being so blunt about  - I'm sorry, coworker, but I didn't know about this meeting and I've scheduled a very important medical test that I cannot reschedule.  In the future, I strongly advise you to give me more  notice - and then walk away. 

I do understand why you were blunt - you are under an incredibly large amount of stress right now.  And I really do have to end with ((((hugs)))).


"The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones" - Solomon ibn Gabirol

DottyG

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Re: I know I didn't need to tell them, but it worked
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2013, 07:25:11 PM »
I think tone has a lot to do with it.  Both things could be said in a way that would come across rudely.  And they can come across as not rude.  It's all in how you say them.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: I know I didn't need to tell them, but it worked
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2013, 07:30:25 PM »
In the first instance, I do think you were approaching the rude line, but depending on how insistent he was being, maybe not.

In the second instance, I think you are in the clear, since the mistake finder was focussing on that particular person.  And you came back with what to do to prevent the mistake from happening again by anyone else.
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AmethystAnne

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Re: I know I didn't need to tell them, but it worked
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2013, 10:21:32 PM »
I guess it's all in how you said it, in both incidences.

Blunt does not necessarily equal rude. Bluntness gets to the point, and then everyone can get on with life.


EllenS

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Re: I know I didn't need to tell them, but it worked
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2013, 10:45:25 PM »
First, I am sorry you have had a lot of stress and I hope your [part of the body test] comes back A-OK.

I think a lot also has to do with the relative job positions and attitudes of the people you were talking to.  Some people try to push others around and demand things, not because it is really as important as they claim, or is necessary for the work, but because they are trying to establish dominance over you.

For example, a  boss might rightfully insist that you reschedule a lunch date or a dental cleaning, for an important meeting.  In that case a more deferential mention of the fact that this is a medically important test, or the word "biopsy", might be more prudent than throwing it in their face.

On the other hand if the co-worker is merely performing dog-park dominance behavior, I don't think you were necesarily rude to push back at the same level of intensity.  If your tone was snotty, that might be rude, but I think a flat mention of facts was OK after deflection failed.  You are pointing out that the person is fixating on the wrong part of the question, while saying so directly would probably just make them defensive.

GreenBird

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Re: I know I didn't need to tell them, but it worked
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2013, 12:11:52 AM »
I think sticking with repeating, "I'm afraid that won't be possible - I'm not available." as you're walking away would have been a good response for the guy insisting you attend his meeting.  Maybe add in, "Let me know how it goes."  If it was your boss or other senior person, I might also add "I have a medical appointment I can't reschedule". 

For the second example, I think "She's no longer with the company" would have been less jarring than "She's dead".  Or "She's passed away" would convey the same information and be a little less abrupt.  I think focusing on how to prevent the problem with other people in the future was excellent.

It sounds like you were more abrupt than rude in both cases, but depending on tone you may have been pushing the envelope a little.  It sounds like you're under a lot of pressure right now so cut yourself some slack, try to take a deep breath before responding to pushy people, and remember all your handy eHell phrases.  And I hope you get good results on your tests! 

Luci

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Re: I know I didn't need to tell them, but it worked
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2013, 01:34:19 AM »
I know we talk about not getting into JADE (Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain) with difficult people. But is that the same as giving people a blunt reason for something, and is it rude?

I'm having a blunt week.  ...

So I told him that I was going to the hospital to have needles stuck into my {part} so they could get cells out and see if I had cancer, and this was more important to me than his meeting. He froze for a second and then agreed with me. ...

"Well, she's dead, so I'm positive she'll never do it again.  Here's what we can do to try to stop others from doing it..."

Too blunt? Or, just being honest? I honestly tried to not be specific about the situations, but it didn't work.

You were not rude in either instance. You were on a health mission, possibly terrified for both the procedure and the result, firmly told your coworker what was happening without too may details. He got the point.

In the second, well, she is dead. Maybe you didn't show enough sadness for that for others' comfort, but you presented a way to keep the same thing from happening again. What more did they want?

I hope all is well with you now. Hugs and prayers.

bopper

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Re: I know I didn't need to tell them, but it worked
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2013, 09:22:10 AM »
I think in a work situation a little JADEing is okay.

I think I would have gone with "Oh, sorry, I really can't make that meeting. I have an important medical test that has been scheduled for a month and a half."

"I am unavailable" is too vague for the work world.  If you reallllly don't want to mention any medical tests, then you could say "Let me check with my boss on how s/he wants me to prioritize" and then mention your test to the boss.

stargazer

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Re: I know I didn't need to tell them, but it worked
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2013, 09:57:57 AM »
I agree with others - blunt does not equal rude.  You were not rude - sometimes when people are insisting on something, blunt is the only thing that gets through to them. 

Hmmmmm

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Re: I know I didn't need to tell them, but it worked
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2013, 10:08:34 AM »
First of all (((hugs))) and I hope your test results are good.

That said, I think you were rude.  You could have given the same information over without being so blunt about  - I'm sorry, coworker, but I didn't know about this meeting and I've scheduled a very important medical test that I cannot reschedule.  In the future, I strongly advise you to give me more  notice - and then walk away. 

I do understand why you were blunt - you are under an incredibly large amount of stress right now.  And I really do have to end with ((((hugs)))).

Hugs

And this. I think simply saying "I have a medical appointment that can't be rescheduled" would have been a more polite response. I don't understand the need to be graphic to state "needles stuck into" other than for shock value.

On the second a simple "She is no longer with us" would have sufficed.

I think in both cases, the people were irritating you and your responses reflected your irritation level.

asb8

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Re: I know I didn't need to tell them, but it worked
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2013, 12:39:43 PM »
I slightly disagree with the group. I think you were a little rude. It's one thing to be blunt when people push unreasonably but going right from 'very vague' to 'massively blunt' with no middle ground isn't called for if the people you are speaking to don't have the needed information to frame their responses.

1. Did you tell the co-worker that you had a non-negotiable medical appointment? If you did and he kept pushing, then you're in the clear.  If not, then I think you went overboard. You don't need to give details but there is a difference between "I have an appointment" and "I have a doctors appointment that must take place today."
2. Did you try to explain that the employee was no longer there? The worried person was clearly not aware she had died and if the error was large enough, had cause to be concerned regarding the prevention of it occuring again.  Going right to 'well she's dead' probably wasn't neccessary.


Just my two cents.

lilfox

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Re: I know I didn't need to tell them, but it worked
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2013, 12:40:16 PM »
I think there's a hierarchy to the kinds of responses that are warranted to situations like the ones in the OP, and it should be more dependent on how the question (demand) is broached than whether the OP feels blunt or not.  It's like playing a trump card - you don't slap it down on the first move, you wait and play increasingly more "valuable" cards until you have no choice because the other person isn't accepting what you've already said. Whether the trump card involves more specific personal information is up to the individual, but I could definitely see using it as a last resort to really drive home a point (because I myself would certainly do this if I felt it would be the fastest and most effective way to shut down the conversation).

 :(  I can't, I have a conflict at that time.
 ???  Sorry, I have a previously scheduled event I cannot change.
 :-\  I have an important medical appointment that cannot be rescheduled.
 >:(  (Seriously?)  I'm about to undergo <procedure>, I won't be at your meeting.

One would hope the last line wouldn't be necessary, but some people just won't take any other version of no for an answer.

In the second case, I can totally see dropping the "she's dead" bomb if the other person won't take a more vague response on its face.  To me it doesn't come across as uncaring about the death, it conveys the point that the other person simply wasn't listening to the responses until they got blunt enough to make an impact.  In my head, the conversation would have gone like this:

Coworker: "Well, Susan sure screwed up the database.  We need to make sure that doesn't happen again"
OP: "Our team is on it, and we'll have it resolved by X date"
Coworker: "Yes, but we can't risk it happening again.  Susan really needs to be retrained"
OP: "Rest assured, our processes will stress the training for that database element"
Coworker: "I want to see your retraining plans for Susan, it's very important that she not mess up again"
OP: "I understand completely, all employees' training will be closely monitored by management"
Coworker: "Susan should have to take some kind of evaluation before she handles the database again!"
OP: "Well, she's dead, so I'm positive she'll never do it again.  Here's what we can do to try to stop others from doing it..."

To be fair, the last line could have been "Well she's no longer with the company so I'm positive she'll never do it again" but OP's version was more direct, shorter, and left nothing up for inquiry (since I can imagine the coworker then asking if she had been fired for incompetence and what else might she have screwed up, since the convo was so specific to Susan).

OP - hope your results are good!

ladyknight1

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Re: I know I didn't need to tell them, but it worked
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2013, 12:51:24 PM »
POD, Lilfox

I have become more blunt since moving away from my FOO (everything must be sugarcoated with them), and I have to watch what I say and how I react at work. I don't think anything crossed the line into rudeness.

asb8

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Re: I know I didn't need to tell them, but it worked
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2013, 01:12:48 PM »
Yes, pod to Lilfox.  That is what I was trying to say.