I believe there are two types of people in the world: those who get defensive and those who don’t. I had a few encounters recently where the person I was dealing with got so defensive I had to stop and say, literally, I am not attacking you!
The truth of the matter is it that they were actually at fault, but since I was part of the conversation I’ll be happy to take some responsibility. After all it takes two to tango.
The first was with a lawyer who I dealt with for my day job. We’d applied for a particular amendment with the regulator, and when it was approved it was effective immediately, which meant we had to scramble to implement the decision. I’d said to the lawyer that I didn’t recall seeing an option to select a future date on the application. They replied and said there isn’t one and that they thought we were ready to go and to stop looking for somewhere to place the blame. My verdict is that they were guilty and they knew it! But I could have done more – in hindsight, I could have asked how we get an effective date and I didn’t.
The second was regarding a referral for a specialist I had that had expired. I wasn’t made aware of this until the day before the appointment, so I tried to obtain one from my GP. Several phonecalls later with no success, the receptionist told me that she’d passed the message on and that she didn’t know what else she was supposed to do. Eventually she said you need to make an appointment to see the GP to get the referral. I said well why didn’t you tell me this yesterday! The verdict – she knew this from the beginning but didn’t tell me. Again, I could have done more to check if my referral had expired.
Next it was dinner at a tavern while we were away for a wedding recently. I’m in the process of changing my diet, so I thought I’d get a salad. It had tofu in it, and I’d asked for extra chicken. Salad comes out. No tofu. I tell the waitress who says they didn’t have any. I said how was I informed that, and she said it wasn’t her fault and that the corporate office handles the app that takes the orders. Not my problem. Additionally, the tomato and onion were also missing from the salad. The chicken was rubbery and my husband’s steak was cold. We got a refund but the waitress should have taken ownership of the situation. I could have done better by sticking to ordering steak. LOL.
In HR Hot Tips, I recommend accepting criticism openly and to not get defensive. More often than not I find people’s “go to” to be defensive, taking things personally rather than objectively. Is it a self confidence issue? Is it that it really is their fault? A lot of conflict could be avoided with simple, objective reaction.
Have you had encounters of this type at all? Share in the comments your best (or worst!) defensive encounter.
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