Author Topic: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress) #39 (info + update)  (Read 5904 times)

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SamiHami

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Re: Boss says I'm too polite
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2014, 12:41:09 PM »
It's got more to do with bearing and confidence than anything else. I recall a woman at my former place of employment. She was about 5 foot nothin' and had a very high, squeaky voice (I always thought she sounded like Betty Boop). But she was a former officer in the military. She had that bearing and confidence around her. I can guarantee no one teased her about her voice and there was never any question of her authority. She was polite-always-but she was also no-nonsense. She was not shy about telling someone what needed to be done but she wasn't rude about it either. She would just tell them politely with what to do with obvious confidence that they were going to do it. I think that is what you need to work on more than anything else.

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mbbored

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Re: Boss says I'm too polite
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2014, 01:33:17 PM »
Thanks everyone!

I believe in my case he's aiming at my being too cautious and apologetic. I do tend to say a lot more "could you" and "thanks for doing this/that", while the rest of my team is more "you will work".
I'll need to work on that and will look into an acting class as well, since that could only benefit me!

It's the second time he said it to be honest and the first time I was just thinking "I don't want to be rude", but I see now that wasn't what he was pointing at.

Being too apologetic can definitely come across as lacking authority. Try to avoid apologizing or saying you're sorry unless something is actually your fault.

TootsNYC

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Re: Boss says I'm too polite
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2014, 05:30:29 PM »
Re: the cautious and apologetic idea:

I think you'd really benefit from thinking of this as "the job needing something" or "the team needing something" and not "me personally asking someone."

You're the person in charge of keeping an eye on what needs to happen, so therefore you see it.  They're the people in charge of doing it, so you alert them to stuff they don't know but would *want* to know.



CookieChica

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Re: Boss says I'm too polite
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2014, 10:29:55 PM »
Ironically, I think your boss was being too polite in his feedback. But I'm glad you're understanding the crux of it.

Not sure what type of work you do but this is something we coach lots of women on where I am. Appearing too timid is a huge barrier to most career progression.

JeanFromBNA

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Re: Boss says I'm too polite
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2014, 12:27:54 AM »
I've found that men don't think the same way about direct orders as (many) women do.  Men tend to be focused on the objective, and less on the message.  "Please do this by 5 PM" is fine. 

Arila

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Re: Boss says I'm too polite
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2014, 02:29:16 PM »
You could also try toastmasters. Yes volume is important as well as projection.

I also had to start rephrasing things at work. Many times there's a bit of a polite fiction that things people 'request' are optional, but they are really required. I was asked once to re-write an email which 'ordered' something to be done rather than 'requested' something to be done, because it was seen as optional, and they were having trouble exercising that authority.

My dad also has this annoying habit (and I've picked it up, apparently) of phrasing things as preferences "Do you want to wash the dishes?" The answer of course is "NO" no one EVER wants to do dishes...but will I? Yes. Yes, I will.

SCMagnolia

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Re: Boss says I'm too polite
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2014, 04:32:13 PM »
Basic manners and being kind are never out of place.  Manners, politeness, and kindness show respect, not weakness.  On that, I think your boss is quite mistaken.

However, if you speak softly or you have a little-girlish sounding voice and you end all your sentences with that little upward lilt that sounds like you're asking a question even when you are making a statement, then yes, I can see how you would come across as less than confident and that can translate across in the workplace as less than capable.

Your posture and body language can also say a lot.  If you use a little girl stance with your toes or knees turned inwards and look at the floor, for example, you will look less than confident. 

I agree with taking the acting class or any kind of vocal coaching class.  I've also seen classes on communication skills for women that might be helpful.


MissRose

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Re: Boss says I'm too polite
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2014, 07:54:23 AM »
I'd rather err on being too polite vs not being that way.  I know some people have said I use terms like please, thank you, ma'am and sir too much in my verbal communication with customers.  But I think part of it was the fact that I've spent some time around those who grew up and/or spent a good deal of time in the Southern US & military where using those terms and a certain level of politeness is excepted.  I sometimes overhear fellow co-workers who do not use much if any of the terms I've referenced beyond maybe a please and a thank you one time per call.

camlan

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Re: Boss says I'm too polite
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2014, 08:01:12 AM »
I'd rather err on being too polite vs not being that way.  I know some people have said I use terms like please, thank you, ma'am and sir too much in my verbal communication with customers.  But I think part of it was the fact that I've spent some time around those who grew up and/or spent a good deal of time in the Southern US & military where using those terms and a certain level of politeness is excepted.  I sometimes overhear fellow co-workers who do not use much if any of the terms I've referenced beyond maybe a please and a thank you one time per call.

Socially and in some business situations, this is a good idea. But the OP and her boss have both noticed that the workmen do not get as much done when the OP is giving them instructions. That's a problem. The boss's instruction to be less polite was most likely his way of solving the problem.

I don't think the OP has to be rude. But she does need to be seen as an authority figure, someone who has the right and responsibility to give orders and expect to have those orders carried out. You can be polite without using "please" and "thank you."
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Isilleke

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Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2014, 09:30:26 AM »
So, I'm trying to change how I say things. I make sure I don't say too much thank you and try to be just factual.

So my conversations are going more like "you will be doing this at that hour. Is that possible? OK, good, I'll see you then." when before I was more like "can you work from that hour? You can, that's great, thank you very much!"

I don't know if this is correct language, but I'm translating it from my own language. Now to continue working on my standing and my voice!

veronaz

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Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2014, 09:53:28 AM »
So, I'm trying to change how I say things. I make sure I don't say too much thank you and try to be just factual.

So my conversations are going more like "you will be doing this at that hour. Is that possible? OK, good, I'll see you then." when before I was more like "can you work from that hour? You can, that's great, thank you very much!"

I don't know if this is correct language, but I'm translating it from my own language. Now to continue working on my standing and my voice!

Still not good.

"Joe, I need you to xxxxx at 3:00."  is better.

TootsNYC

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Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2014, 10:19:29 AM »
So, I'm trying to change how I say things. I make sure I don't say too much thank you and try to be just factual.

So my conversations are going more like "you will be doing this at that hour. Is that possible? OK, good, I'll see you then." when before I was more like "can you work from that hour? You can, that's great, thank you very much!"

I don't know if this is correct language, but I'm translating it from my own language. Now to continue working on my standing and my voice!

Still not good.

"Joe, I need you to xxxxx at 3:00."  is better.

Great switch in language, OP.

Here's another thing for your arsenal.

And sometimes, "Joe, this needs to get done at 3:00. Do you foresee any snags?/Do you see any reason it won't?"
So, you're not asking, personally--it's something that needs to happen for bigger reasons than you.

And love the "Good, see you then" switch.

Have you seen any change in their response yet?

Yvaine

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Re: Boss says I'm too polite
« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2014, 10:28:11 AM »
My dad also has this annoying habit (and I've picked it up, apparently) of phrasing things as preferences "Do you want to wash the dishes?" The answer of course is "NO" no one EVER wants to do dishes...but will I? Yes. Yes, I will.

At one of my jobs, where we were all pretty informal and jokey with each other, we actually started answering these questions honestly. Supervisor: "Yvaine, do you want to wash the dishes?" Me: "Nope! But I will!"  ;D

dawbs

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Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2014, 11:40:13 AM »
OP, you also might find that focusing on some of the non-verbal language helps too (and makes the verbal language sound more firm--both in how you speak and in how it's perceived).

I work with (supervise) young people who are often at their first job, they're in a quasi-authoritative position, and the position attracts young people who are going into elem. education (who, if I'm going to egregiously make a gross stereotype, tend to be a particularly soft-spoken lot)--and when needed, we have mini-sessions of "Dawbs's lessons on commanding authority/assertiveness/dealing w/ creepy people (or people who claim they don't take direction from women well)"

What your parents tried to teach you about good posture is a good place to start--shoulders square, straight spine, don't slouch.

If you're standing while speaking, take a slightly wider stance.  You know the stance people tell you to take if someone keeps pushing their shopping cart into your heel?  when you take a 1/2 step forward but still have your leg behind you?  do that.   (this is opposite of what young ladies were taught about good posture--make yourself take up more space!)

If someone is questioning your authority/being creepy, I find that 'look big' translates well from the animal kingdom--have you arms at your sides, but a little bit farther way than normal, elbows slightly bent, etc.  Not necessarily hands on hips, but hanging loose and wide at the side
(Look, science:  http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/bmag/sbsm0711/kn-dominance.html on the topic :)

Don't be apologetic or, like someone else said, do the 'uptalk' that makes your statement into a question.  You can say please and have it not be a question.  "Don, can you please take out the trash?" can be replaced with "Don, take out the trash please"  Almost the same, minus the question mark--tone of voice makes a difference in that.  And giving the expected deadline as a statement ("I expect X to be done by 3) followed by "is that possible?" or "do you forsee any problems with that?" instead of "can you do this by 3?" is a world of difference

Good eye contact is helpful.

I find looking and posing assertively makes me default to more assertive language --and even if my language doesn't change, the perception does.
(Fake it 'til you make it!)

shhh its me

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Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
« Reply #29 on: January 21, 2014, 01:48:28 PM »
So, I'm trying to change how I say things. I make sure I don't say too much thank you and try to be just factual.

So my conversations are going more like "you will be doing this at that hour. Is that possible? OK, good, I'll see you then." when before I was more like "can you work from that hour? You can, that's great, thank you very much!"

I don't know if this is correct language, but I'm translating it from my own language. Now to continue working on my standing and my voice!

Still not good.

"Joe, I need you to xxxxx at 3:00."  is better.

Translating may be altering it a bit so I would advise getting second opinions in the actual language.

but my suggestion would be "  I have you scheduled doing X from hour 1 to hour 2. Please, confirm that there are no conflicts.1 Reply to via email to acknowledge 2"  , "Yes, I am available and will do Task. "   ,  Very good , I'll see you then."

AS it is you're still asking . now if you are actually asking if they are availing use 1  if are asking for a reply use 2
« Last Edit: January 21, 2014, 01:50:52 PM by shhh its me »