Toss the BS Flag Like a Pro...

Thursday, June 02, 2022

... by not actually tossing it.

At Ask a Manager, Allison Green got an interesting letter a while back by someone whose question boiled down to [I]s there a way to call someone out on their BS in a professional and polite manner?

There are many things I like about Green's answer, including her preface that it can sometimes be politic to allow a colleague to save face. The gist of it is:

Image by BrokenSphere, via Wikimedia Commons, license.
[T]here are times not calling something out would be consequential. In those cases, the best way to do it is to use a tone that is either very matter-of-fact or slightly confused/concerned. You're not being accusatory; you are just matter-of-factly making sure everyone is on the same page / has the same information, or concerned that you might have misunderstood something and are trying to clear it up.


You're not doing a "gotcha" and you're not lording over them that you're right and they're wrong. You're just calmly, collaboratively trying to solve a work problem.
Green supplies several good examples of how to do this and adds:
Some people still won't like it! But most will learn over time that they can't BS around you without being called on it, which will be good for your quality of life.
In addition to this, several commenters chimed in that this approach has unearthed actual problems at times they thought they were being given a snow-job.

-- CAV

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