a new co-worker or competitor infringes upon your established area of
responsibility and you say nothing, you run the risk of losing the business
or job! Better to acknowledge the salvo and decide the best course of
If it’s a co-worker, you could
calmly confront the person and re-establish your territory and/or educate
him/her on the best way to work with you.
If it’s a competitor, ask your client
if the account is in play. You might find that the competitor has put
in an unsolicited bid for the business! You could then reinforce your
position with the client by underscoring your loyalty to the team and
how you’ve contributed to its success.
a specific example of the positive results of speaking up:
I worked in the HR department of a large corporation, my boss, the HR
Director, received a poor performance appraisal. After his unsatisfactory
review, he proceeded to demean and blame his staff, making snide remarks
within earshot of the person he was singling out. This went on for several
weeks until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I told the VP - HR,
and he relocated the Director to another floor for the remainder of his
time with the company.
This experience resulted in the removal
of a person who was demoralizing the entire HR department. Further, I
was offered the HR Director job on an interim basis, which became permanent
several months later.
More importantly, I believe the VP-HR
was impressed with my willingness to take a stand. The
assertiveness I demonstrated was a trait that he valued and it established
my ability to function successfully in a male-dominated department.
speaking up serves a threefold purpose. It allows you to convincingly
articulate your “case.” It provides a platform to exhibit
a quality that your boss may highly prize. And if you succeed, it gives
you the confidence to use your newfound “voice” in other areas
of your life.
The next time you want to speak
up, role play your “case” ahead of time with a trusted friend
or coach. You may have more to gain than you know.