I couldn’t believe the post on my LinkedIn feed.
Someone had posted a pic of a full-figured model and asked one of those dumb, “duh” questions such as, “Should Full-Figured Models be Allowed to Walk the Fashion Runway?”
My self-justified, smart-ass Comment, “Move this to Facebook.”
I mean this is LinkedIn. Where I LIVE as a consultant and often communicate with colleagues, clients, friends (more often than not the same as my colleagues and clients) and prospective clients. And I will defend its purity from political rants and posts like this that are meant to support the obvious.
And then the unthinkable happened.
Another poster took issue with my comment pointing out that this content DID belong on LinkedIn.
YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!
In response I typed, “So exactly what IS the business relevance of this obvious attempt to illicit a certain response?”
His response, “The fashion industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and so this has great relevance. If you don’t like it, move on. No need to comment.”
How dare he tell me what to do!
Of course, I responded with fury and well-deserved sarcasm, “Thank you so much for enlightening me on the fact that the fashion industry is huge. Who knew? So exactly what WAS the business relevance of a question that had an obvious answer?!”
BAM! I showed him!
As I turned from the computer, a voice deep inside my head, and probably my heart as well, spoke up and said very clearly, “Nicely done a- -hole. You just had to win didn’t you?”
Huh? What? I mean, I was just protecting the sanctity of LinkedIn and then this guy…
And then I stopped arguing with the voice.
For once again, the voice was right.
And I deleted my caustic, “I’ll show you”, post.
And I typed, “My bad Joseph. I respect your opinion that this has relevance. I did not see it.”
And it was done. Or so I thought.
But it wasn’t for Joseph.
He replied, “No worries. I get it. Have a great rest of the weekend 😊!”
And I sat there and wondered what the response would have been had I not deleted my first post? How long we would have traded posted barbs? How personal might it have become?
Yet with my respectful response, I received a freakin’ smiley face from a total stranger!
So you may be sitting there wondering what does this post have to do with business?
Actually, quite a lot. We have all worked with the individual who must “win” every business discussion no matter the consequences or the pain that their “winning” causes others.
And in fact, if we look deep within ourselves, there’s probably a good chance that each and every one of us – I’m certainly guilty of this – have been “that guy”.
Yet, we have also been on the other side, at times feeling the pain of losing. Interestingly, it’s not so much the losing of the argument or discussion, but rather the way we lost – the personal attack we felt, much like that which I was about to unleash, for our views on a business issue.
If we are to build strong, diverse and inclusive cultures within our businesses (and the world in which we live), regardless of our role, we need to constantly be aware that there are numerous occasions where by “losing”, i.e., by treating those with whom we disagree with respect and accepting the fact that their perspectives and opinions are as vital and important as our own, we can elevate those around us and our organizations as a whole.
I’m not talking about an environment where you don’t speak up or share your point of view but rather the “I AM RIGHT AND I WILL PROVE YOU WRONG!” approach to discussions, that if we are honest with ourselves, some if not all of us (me included!), take to business and life discussions.
Whether an Executive, a first-line leader, or an individual contributor, you will no doubt be faced with a “win – lose” discussion or situation in the near future. Not a decision for the very survival of the business, but a “win-lose” nonetheless.
I ask you to choose to “lose”. Let the other party “win”.
Show thru your actions that you truly respect and value their perspective. That your answer isn’t the ONLY answer. That you value them sharing their diverse perspective. That you value them as a colleague, a team member, a friend, and a valued human being who without a doubt, on some level, possesses a different perspective than your own. A perspective that you may not agree fully with or understand, but one that you can accept.
Choose to lose.
Doing so will make for a stronger culture, a more inclusive company, and most importantly my friends, it will make for a better you.
I know that for certain.
My voice told me so.
Have a safe and successful week everyone!