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Let’s face it, life is better if we get what we want. If the world, circumstances and other people would just cooperate life would be grand!

If you’ve had a toddler or have at least been around one you’ve seen that innate desire live out. During those early years there is really no sense of others. All they know is what they want and they will pull out all the stops in their limited bag of tricks to get what they want.

They might try cute first and then move to whining and pleading. From there they’ll head straight for the full out temper tantrum, throwing themselves on the ground, crying, kicking, and screaming like their world will come to an end if they don’t get that toy or candy.

Luckily, most toddlers are taught that that’s not an appropriate response. They learn to accept delayed gratification and sharing becomes easier.

When my boys were little and they’d start to whine I would tell them, “I can’t understand you when you talk like that.” Or, “you are just getting farther and farther away from getting what you want.”   And I did my darndest to do nothing to reward them during a rant.

We had sitting time outs in the middle of grocery stores, left restaurants.

As I think back I must say, I do NOT miss those times!!

It was sometimes very inconvenient to follow through with consequences or not give in but I wanted them to learn that whining and temper tantrums were not the route to getting their way.

As adults, we still have that innate desire to get our way.  Most of us have learned to consider the needs of others in addition to our own. Or, have learned the art of delayed gratification, understanding the need to set goals and work for things we want. Others have learned to put their own wants and needs aside choosing, instead, to focus on helping others get what they desire.

And, there are those who still work to get their way. Sometimes it’s okay. We have an opinion or perspective that has helped us make an informed decision about what we think is best. We seek to have our opinion known and understood through assertive communication.

Still others will use more manipulative tactics. Work the politics of the office, start gossip, stay quiet in a meeting and then campaign for your agenda. Or use the stay stuck strategies I talk about in episodes 50 through 53, as a for instance,

They are denial, defensiveness, deflection and defriending. Here are the links:

Episode 50:
Episode 51:
Episode 52:
Episode 53:

Or perhaps you’ve seen a grown up throw an adult sized temper tantrum.

And, do I even need to say it? All of this creates drama!

I have seen through my work that some people will deploy manipulate tactics to get their way for a short period while others will keep going, pulling out all the stops and using multiple manipulation tools. Most will have a stopping point where they throw in the towel and quietly give up.

I recently shared the results of a cultural assessment with a client and felt compelled to emphasize more than usual that the information contained in the report must be kept confidential.

I shared that normally I see a person’s end point. They use manipulative tactics and then give up the fight, realizing they must succumb.

In this instance, however, I was up against someone who continued to use manipulative tactics and covert operations with me during the entire evaluation. This person lied, changed appointments a gagillion times, was a no call no show for a couple of appointments, tried to avoid me during our scheduled times when he did show up by continuing to take phone calls and then dragging them out, telling me had to leave suddenly. And when all of that didn’t work, this person became condescending.

When that failed he got incredibly defensive, belittling, and arrogant. Then there was badgering and trying to block me from key documents I needed to review.

During the entire process, this person, who knew I’d be providing a report to his superiors, never backed down. Instead he continued to escalate his tactics; like a toddler, but in an adult way.

I never did see his end point. What else was he capable of? Thus, the extra emphasis on keeping a report confidential.

It got me thinking. We all have the capacity to try some tactics to get our way. Some overt and some covert, some professional and above board and some not.

It’s time to do some reality checking. My question for you today is:

  • Are you aware?
  • What actions, behaviors, conversations, tactics do you use to try to get your way?
  • Do you use different tactics in your personal life than you do in your professional one?
  • Are you passive, aggressive or assertive with your tactics?
  • Are you engaging in covert operations, working behind the scenes gossiping or working the politics of the office in your favor?
  • Are you sitting quietly in a meeting and then campaigning for your position afterwards?
  • At what point are you willing to concede?
  • Do you take it too far? Do you need to let go sooner?
  • Are you retaliatory after the fact if you don’t get your way?
  • Are there areas where your desire to get your makes you blind to the perspectives, desires, ideas of others?
  • Where are you igniting drama rather than defeating it?

Take some time to really think about these questions and get real. Are there changes you need to make in this area?

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Direct download: DTD_097__What_Do_You_Do_To_Get_Your_Way_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT