There seems to be a growing trend around me of people calling others out in public forums. I’m not sure why…
Here’s an example: John and Mary are in a meeting (with a bunch of co-workers). In front of everyone, John says to Mary, “Hey Mary. You’re going to buy some chocolate bars for my son’s band, aren’t you?” or John says, “Mary…I haven’t received an article for the company newsletter from you. Can you send me one?”
Frankly, I think of this as calling someone out. It’s intentionally putting the other person in a position where they are being embarrassed into participating. Let’s face it . . it’s bullying and there’s no excuse for it.
Now, let’s say it’s part of Mary’s job to buy chocolate bars and/or write articles for the company newsletter. Then, John’s comments are merely holding Mary accountable. That’s different but it should still be done in private. It can still come across as being rude.
Same goes for situations where it’s not a part of Mary’s job but she says she’s going buy candy or write an article. Again, John’s simply holding her to her word.
But if it’s not part of Mary’s responsibilities, and she hasn’t previously committed to it…then it’s calling her out. And, it needs to stop. It makes John look like a jerk who doesn’t have the ability to convince somebody one-on-one. And, it’s awkward for Mary who is made to look like a wimp. Ultimately it puts a major strain on their working relationship.
And, if the other person says (either publicly or privately) “nope, not buying those candy bars” or “sorry, I’m too busy to write that article”, then you need to respect the response. I’ve actually seen situations where someone declines and the person keeps bullying them. Consider how such repeated requests look to your colleagues. Are you coming across as self-centered because you can’t take no for an answer or desperate because you aren’t moving on?
Some people might say that calling another person out is all a part of some grand office politics strategy. It’s not. It’s bullying so just stop it. But if you really feel compelled to call someone out in a public forum, make sure it’s for something really important. Otherwise the person on the receiving end might just call you out for it.
Image courtesy of jerine.0