August 13, 2007
If I'm in a crowded parking lot, and a Wookie in a Hummer wants my spot, I let the Wookie win. If I'm trying to get the last shopping cart at the grocery store and a Wookie grabs it at the same time I do, I let the Wookie win. That is personal life and geared to avoid unecessary conflict and potential danger.
At work, when confronted with a bully or a blowhard, do you always let the Wookie win? In the movie Star Wars, that was the right choice for C3PO, but in real life business its a recipe for disaster.If you let people have their way every day, you will marginalize yourself and others will eventaully resent you for being spineless.
A recent study in England suggested that if you are too easy going, people will take advantage of you and it will mitigate your success. Don't try and take shortcuts in business life. Doing unreasonable favors is an artificial way of trying to be more liked. It's like candy, initially you'll feel better but eventually you will crash.
Recommended: Stand up for yourself this week. Don't let a non-boss bully you into doing something that you don't need to do under your job description. Instead, tell the Wookie exactly why you can't/won't do it. Keep it business focused: you don't have time, you won't add value by doing it, you don't agree that it's good for the biz. If you have a disagreement with the Wookie on business strategy, ask for a third person to get involved and settle it on business terms. Don't worry, in the long run you will be very emotionally attracive to the Wookie and everyone around you -- because in the long run everyone respects people with integrity and grit.
PS -- You don't have to be unfriendly to disagree with the Wookie. Remember, at work you stand up for what is right for the business and when you disagree with a coworker, it doesn't mean you don't like or respect them. Henry Kissinger was a pro at cheerfully telling you that your idea is wrong and you feeling OK about the news.