10 Reminders When "Having an Opinion" in the Workplace
BY: BEVERLY CARTER
Reading time: 7 minutes
Having an opinion is inevitable. Everyone has an opinion, whether we take it or not. However, the delivery of opinions is the topic of discussion in this context.
One thing I've come to realize: one of the essential skills to the delivery of an opinion, or speech is merely listening.
Often as human beings, we are too busy responding to argue, just to directly respond, rather than listening to understand.
Listening is a whole new language, and it's an important skill to have, especially when working with professionals.
Listen to what is said, try to understand; take time if you have to. And then after processing the information you've received, calmly respond. Even if the delivery from the other person(s) is aggressive, to have practical communication skills, listening has to be the fundamental part of it.
Without listening, nothing can be resolved or understood.
When provoked, take time to breathe and do whatever calming mechanisms you can to help yourself.
This could include counting backwards, perhaps walking out of the room, taking deep breathes - whatever it is that you have to do, do it.
When you step into professional institutions and atmospheres, especially as a black woman, you come to realize, you often have to be the bigger person, more than most.
Unfortunately, that's just how it works if you want to survive.
3. Your Opinion is Valid.
Another thing to also take into consideration is remembering that it doesn't mean that your opinion is any less significant.
Opinions are everywhere, and we all have one; but just because someone has an opinion and makes it seem more important or valid than yours, doesn't mean that is so.
It's ok to remember that people may not always say, or do things that you find right, or fit within your moral compass, but that doesn't mean you're wrong.
Just remember that no matter the situation, you are a human being just as the other person(s) are too, which means that just as they have an opinion, you do too, but just because you have to listen to their opinion, or their delivery comes off stronger, doesn't mean your opinion doesn't matter. Some people just feel that they are right, or what they say is more important, but as I keep reiterating, that is not the case and it's not something to take personally.
4. YOU can't control people's feelings.
Also understanding that you are not in control of other people and their feelings and reactions will also help you to feel better because at the end of the day, people will react however they want to react, and you cannot control them.
5. BEING ASSERTIVE GETS YOU NOWHERE.
By being assertive, you are trying to force or shove your opinion on a person, to get whatever it is you want, but how effectively does that usually turn out to be?
People can talk crazy all the time, and no one likes to be forced to do something they don't want to do, so perhaps it may also help to put yourself in the other persons shoes even if you are completely against whatever it is they are trying to assert on you. I've come to figure that often when people say or do things to upset me, I try to put myself in the other persons shoes in order to be able to understand why they think they way they think, so it can also help me to open my mind to whatever it is they're saying, or come to a better assimilation of their thought process.
6. PUT YOURSELF IN SOMEONE ELSE'S SHOES.
Sometimes you'll find that by putting yourself in the other person's shoes, you become a little more open and start to see things from their point of view. Now, this is not to say that you're wrong, but sometimes it's good to think outside the box, and just open your mind to what the person feels and why. It's an act of diplomatic behavior, to be able to empathize with the other person and also reflect, and also validate the other person's point of view to calm the situation down, whether it is at work or social environment, and also explain why.
7. ESTABLISH CHANGES.
Establish any changes that need to be made such as 1. Learning that some boundaries shouldn't be crossed. 2. Respect whatever the other person is saying so that a friendly atmosphere maintains. 3. Plan to focus on the things within the situation that CAN change, and forget about what can't. At the end of the day, you also want to be in a peaceful environment where conflict or aggression won't be an ongoing issue and finally, have a solution.
8. FIND THE SOLUTION.
To every problem, there is a solution. Find that solution, and come to an understanding. Aggressive people will demand a change, but not help. And passive-aggressive people will solve a problem without any communication at all. That doesn't help. It's important to be able to have an effective understanding going forward so that everyone is on the same page and you also learn how to navigate that person better.
9. BE THE BIGGER PERSON.
Even if it means you may not be satisfied with the way things have ended, or you still feel like your feelings and opinions aren't being validated, being the bigger person and still showing respect is still important. It creates more of an outlook on you and says more about you than the other person.
Maintain your integrity, bring the situation to a close and walk away leaving it behind.
It's not healthy to overthink on situations we can't change, and its best to do what we can with what we can control, or change, rather than what we can't. Put the situation behind you and move forward in a positive light.
10. DO NOT GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT.
As a black woman, they would expect you to get all fired up, and aggressive - you can't give them this leverage. Those who work in tough work environments, and work among those who display ignorance and superiority can use such against you, just to get you to act up so you can lose an opportunity.
Often, we grew up knowing we had to suck it up no matter what, whether we're in school, in public, at work, or anywhere else. But we still push through and get on with whatever we have to do.
Now, some may argue the opposite and say 'Oh hell naw!' F dat!' but we have to think about a couple of things here. How far will it get you? And how long do you think it would work for you? Just something to think about ladies
Beverly Carter - Houston, Texas
Beverly grew up in London but she's a Houston native. She is an entrepreneur that has a skincare and makeup cosmetic line. In her spare time she likes to workout, go hiking, listen to music, pamper herself, shop and of course most importantly spend time with her son, family, and best friends.
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