How to Handle Humiliation at Work

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How do you handle humiliation at work? A client emailed me asking about handling humiliation at work. He described how he's been working hard on his presence with his team. He's been personally and privately thanking those who have offered helpful feedback. However, despite his efforts, he was humiliated by a direct report in front of his department. He considered this person one of his biggest supporters, to make matters worse. He asked me, how do you handle humiliation at work? Oh, how I wish I could take a hard-line approach and say, "It's never OK to humiliate someone publicly, and therefore the other person must be fired!" But where then is the space for misunderstandings and grace for bad moments? I've had bad moments where I've said something dumb and hurtful, have you? Effective communication in the best of circumstances requires a lot of context, especially when something as painful as humiliation is involved. There are relationship dynamics and circumstances that we must consider. There are possibilities beyond "right" and "wrong." Before I could answer his email, my client went to the offending person and had a difficult conversation. She apologized, feeling terrible, and admitted she'd lost her cool. So how do you handle humiliation at work? You already know. Be like my client and have the difficult conversation. Be clear and kind. From there, you'll have the information you need to move forward. If you need help figuring out how to be clear and kind with your words, contact me @ alex@pswithalex.com.

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