You’re not the type to intimidate coworkers. You set a good example, strive for a collaborative atmosphere, and value your employees’ feedback. That’s why you might be astonished to learn that you intimidate your coworkers. Hearing others describe us as intimidating when we don’t feel that way about ourselves is an unnerving and self-alienating feeling.
It’s difficult enough to think about intimidation, let alone discuss thoughts of being intimidated and intimidated by one another in pairs or groups. Threat produces internal divisions in our thinking, which are mirrored by the public and private faces of intimidation. And, all other things being equal, some people are more readily intimidated than others.
While there could be a surge of pleasure and a feeling of power. At the same moment, sensations of piercing sorrow and shame about losing control may arise. We realize that if people are afraid of us, if others fear that we will inadvertently damage them or pressurize them in undesired and distressing ways, we will be terribly lonely, regardless of whether they stay or not. If they stay, we might feel relieved and guilty; if they depart, we might feel relieved and sad.
As members of the animal kingdom, we are wired to employ a variety of displays of power to ensure our safety and position in the pack, as well as to achieve our objectives. Not everyone is an alpha dog or an apex predator. With few exceptions, we are all aware of where we stand with one another. But do you know if you are intimidating to others? Look out for these signs.
Cutting people off in the middle of their sentences is a frequent nervous tendency, but it may be unsettling. People tend to become quiet when they are uncomfortable with the energy of those around them. Being shunned may be a lonely and sad experience. It frequently generates more questions than solutions. However, if others seem to avoid you, it’s conceivable that it’s because of your scary vibe.
In discussion, whether it’s just you and a friend or a large group, body language communicates a lot. It could be as simple as someone inching away or turning their body away from you. It’s possible that if you notice people doing this around you, it’s because they believe you’re invading their personal space. This can be avoided by standing a little further back and speaking at a lower volume.
When someone can look you in the eyes, it means they are willing to be vulnerable and feel safe around you. It also demonstrates their interest in you. When you frighten others, they may avoid eye contact as a means of protecting themselves from your ferocity, which makes them feel endangered. They’re indicating that they’d like to end the conversation with a subtle gesture.
Are you unsure about the level of intimidation in your workplace? Obtain candid feedback from employees. Send a confidential survey to the entire team, and urge them to be as open as possible regarding the power dynamics at work. It’s critical to keep the survey anonymous and inquire about the length of time a person has worked for a company. Employees’ status within an organization, whether junior, medium, or senior, should also be considered.
Inquire about people’s perceptions of overall communication at your company and whether they are intimidated by upper management. Include questions about whether they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts based on their gender, ethnicity, or tenure. You might be surprised by the outcomes.
It’s possible that high management is to blame if employees, particularly junior personnel, remain silent during meetings. Even if it’s not your intention, you can intimidate employees. Consider the disparities in compensation, authority, and influence among employees. Upper management and board members, unsurprisingly, are more hesitant to speak up. They’ve probably been around for a while and are more comfortable in their employment.
Junior employees, on the other hand, may feel less comfortable in their jobs and be more conscious of the power dynamics at work. As someone in a position of authority, you must know that power can be terrifying on its own. Look yourself before turning outside if you’re frustrated by a lack of open and honest communication at work. You might be able to influence whether or not they have a job. Recognize your own power and how terrifying it might be.
It’s all about facial expressions, voice tone, and verbal and written communication styles. You may believe that your neutral expression indicates that you’re paying attention. Employees may interpret this to suggest that you don’t care what they think. Instead, nod when an employee offers a recommendation and dare to smile at staff when they suggest changes, even if you don’t implement them.
When speaking, keep your focus entirely on the staff. Your team colleagues may not be aware that you’re checking your phone or laptop during a meeting because you’re dealing with an irate client. While someone is speaking, give them your undivided attention. Don’t ignore an employee’s suggestion or react angrily, sarcastically, or with apathy.
This is true at all times, but while in a public environment, such as a team meeting, be especially aware of your comments. Outside of work, your caustic sense of humor may be appreciated, but now is not the moment to make a teasing remark.
Stay alert always. Take note of your employees’ facial expressions. It’s possible that they’re shutting down because they’re afraid. Take note if a junior employee participates in a meeting conversation but then remains silent in following meetings. It’s possible that it’s not because they’ve run out of ideas. It could be due to the way you react. Fortunately, you have the power to alter your own behavior and create an open, honest workplace where people are free to express themselves.
Check out my related post: How to network at a conference?