Power Speaking for Women / "Make Your Meetings Matter"
"Make Your Meetings Matter"
In our (PSW) workshops we do a piece called "running with the wolfpack." It is an exercise in how to disagree publicly with a colleague, (in this case an overly aggressive one), without losing your focus, cool or ability to influence the decision makers in the room.
The exercise is an acknowledgement that while it is important to manage, even embrace conflict or disagreements, it can be intimidating for some. Learn to defend your ground and in doing so not shortchange your power.
Team dynamics being what they are, you may be in a difficult meeting today. Often the conversation is who or what will get the green light on an idea, who will lead a project and who will be in a supporting role.
In our Power Speaking for Women Workshops we teach that when competing for resources or responsibilities with an aggressive teammate, consider this... 1: Saying nothing will get you nowhere but frustrated and unheard. 2: Saying nothing means you agree or are unwilling to disagree. In a "wolf pack" that is considered weakness and often leads to a lack of respect and to undermine your influence. Remember, as tempting as it is to leave it alone or conversly to "beat" your antagonist, your argument is not and should not b, with, the "wolf."
So your goal should not be to "beat" him but to influence the decision makers. When dealing with an especially aggressive male teammate who is prone to speak over you or act dismissively toward you or your ideas, try this... Next time you are interrupted or spoken over, hear him out for a minute, maybe ask a question or two for clarity, and then look him in the eye, interrupt (yes I said it), with a "While I appreciate your position (wait a beat or two), and your experience has always been valuable to me, in this case we disagree and here's why." Remember, you don't need to convince him of your position and you probably won't. Then, rather than address him directly turn physically toard the persons who you would like to influence and make your case.
Make it powerfully, passionately and with your facts straight. If the other person wants to interrupt or speak over you, don't let it happen. A short, decisive, "hold on a sec!" is fair and understood, especially in a "wolf pack." Giving in, or up too soon so as not to appear too aggressive, is a recipe for not being heard. If you change your mindset and not make it about you and him but about being influential in your organization - you will be more successful in doing so. We bosses/business owners want that in our teams. ALL members of our teams. In short don't argue with your antagonist but influence and persuade the major stakeholders.
Simple and effective.
To your success.