Silence Does the Heavy Lifting

A blog contribution from our friends at Warm Demanders

Do you have anyone on your team or staff that always chooses negativity and loves to bring any room to the lowest common denominator? You know, the kind of person that you always love, but can be really challenging to like?

Trying times certainly lead to even more corrosive behaviors, but of course, we need to rise above the moment while exercising empathy for someone who is obviously struggling.

We have a lot of options when such a person isn’t in-person, as we can more easily choose to walk away from an email or phone call before responding or even have tools like prewritten scripts to quickly employ.

But when someone is waiting and seemingly enjoying the negative spotlight, how do we respond? Sure, we know that arguing with a fool only makes two, but equally important guiding principles are if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything and what you tolerate sets the bar.  

So what do we do while that person watches intently to see if we flinch?

Whether you are on your own, leading a small team, or working with a large staff, this warm demander strategy is easy and repeatable with a little practice. Create a short, catchy, and easily remembered response that can be delivered with a smile. Yes, with a smile. If we don’t choose a calm voice and smile, our faces and voice will go on autopilot:

Thank you for sharing, (name). I’m going to take a little time and think about what you’ve said. I’ll get back to you tomorrow/next week because I’m not sure my response today will be what I want it to be when I think back on this in the future.

Not only do we avoid the bait, but we also buy ourselves a little time and pass most of that discomfort back where it belongs. 

And often, that negative friend will nervously stop by our office or room with a more positive disposition to make sure everything is ok. 

Just like in teaching, silence and a little wait time can do a lot of heavy lifting.

Aubrey and Melody

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