Review: Speak Up, Show Up and Stand Out by Loretta Malandro
This review was first published in the Jan. 5 edition of The Hamilton Spectator.
Please raise your right hand and repeat after Loretta Malandro.
“I am committed to the success of others both privately and publicly. This includes my coworkers, direct reports, superiors, senior leaders and the organization itself. If I have a concern or issue, I will talk directly to the person or group that can help resolve the situation.”
Let’s make 2015 the year that we start talking to people and stop talking about them behind their backs and trashing them on social media.
“This communication rule, talk to people and not about people, is a doozy,” says Malandro, who’s the author of Speak Up, Show Up and Stand Out, a behavioral expert and founder and CEO of an international consulting firm.
“It’s probably the most difficult one to follow because complaining and faultfinding are ingrained behaviors for us. It is, however, one of the most powerful guidelines you can adopt. Do not gloss over this rule. It has a direct impact on your reputation and your future.”
It’s not enough to quit our kvetching. We also need to stand up to toxic co-workers who conspire behind closed doors, split our workplaces into warring factions and disparage our organizations.
Staying silent is not kosher. “You may not utter a single word when negativity mongers gather together; however, your silence is sending a message,” says Malandro. “Silent conspirators are just as guilty as vocal ones. There’s no such thing as remaining neutral in the midst of negativity. A silent partner is a full partner.”
So how do we break our silence and confront habitually negative malcontents who could redirect some of their bottomless ire our way?
Malandro has three suggestions.
Remind the people you work with about your personal pledge to not engage in negative conversations. Your approach is to talk to people, not about them. You stand for the success of everyone. This is your rule and it’s not up for debate.
Tell your constantly complaining co-worker that you’re changing the conversation. “An easy way to shut down a draining conversation is to state that you are going to switch the subject,” says Malandro. “When you deliver this news in a lighthearted way, it takes others off guard, and often they move on to the new topic with you.”
If you can’t change the conversation, respectfully end it. Thank your co-worker for her opinion, say that you have nothing to add and then stop talking.
According to Malandro, you should never tell nabobs of negativism to look on the bright side and quit their complaining. “You will alienate them because in essence you are saying ‘you’re wrong’ or ‘you’re bad’. Essentially, you are judging the complainers for judging others.”
Creating positive partnerships and stopping negative talk is one of Malandro’s nine communications rules for improving our ability to influence others and make change happen. While her rules are common sense, Malandro says they’re not normal behaviors.
“We are hardwired to survive, and we engage in behaviors that undermine our effectiveness. When it comes to communicating, our instinctive and unconscious behavior is to engage in frontal assault, attacking and arguing, or to avoid our discomfort by shutting down. These counterproductive communication behaviors sabotage our success, undermine our relationships and send our credibility plummeting.”
Taken together, the rules will help you achieve 100 per cent accountability. “Own your experiences, actions, words and reactions. You are in charge of you. Have the courage to stand up for who you are and take accountability, not blame, for how your words and actions affect others.”
So here’s to talking to, rather than talking about, people in 2015.