Don’t Back Down

Every once in awhile you get the chance to stand up for yourself. No, it may not be this grand gesture paired with an epic speech (I wish) but just a chance to say, hey, I matter.

These chances– they’re presented out in the universe like carrots but how many of us seize the prize?

My conflict management style is normally “accommodate, accommodate, accommodate — blow the fuck up.” Healthy? No. Optimal results? Uh uh.

Here’s a fun little visual on how most of us deal with it. I tend to fly from far right to top left like a banshee.


Styles aside, it’s so key to demonstrate assertiveness, to stand up for ourself, and to speak out. The goal naturally to end up in a space of collaborating and not fly off the handle into a competing zone.

So, when was the last time you stood up and asserted yourself? Or are you hanging out in the cooperativeness zone where it’s a bit safer?

There’s a lot of people out there and everyone has an agenda – which are their needs, desires, goals, insecurities, and more. And then the fun part is that all these little things come up in your day to day interactions with them. Uh huh. And your little quirks are showing their heads, too.

So what do you do when something isn’t meshing? How do you know when a relationship is rocky? Here’s what I know to do, but, don’t always do:

1. Listen to your gut. When you feel like something isn’t quite clicking between you and another person, pay attention to the clues. Clues could be passive aggressive behaviour,  avoidance, limited eye contact/smiling, body language, and more.

2. Reflect. What am I doing that could possibly be causing this? Even if you’re 100% in the right, know that you’re at least 2% wrong. Just 2%. A little weight to take. There has got to be something that you can attribute back onto YOU.

3. Speak. Bring it out into light and call a spade a spade. Avoid telling someone they’re doing you wrong but instead suggest what you suspect. I really like using the phrase, “I’m sensing….” I’ve found it to be very non-confrontational and received with ease.

You’ll get the folks who will squirm through your observations and suggestions and will come out of the discussion relieved, smiling, and thanking you for having the courage to break the ice. You’ll also get those who will go into the conflict styles model and hang out in avoidance/accommodation zone to appease you. That’s cool, too. Let them hang there while you shine in assertive collaboration (like the beautiful star you are.)

The most important thing is that you have the courage to not back down, to say what you see, and to be the one who leads through conflict to better things.



Photo Credit: Stephen Daws

You may also like

What To Do When You Lose Your Voice.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.