A Surprisingly Effective Way To Deal With People Who Want You To Do Something You Don't Want To Do

Hands over earsNot the daughter in question.

No matter what profession you’re in, you will encounter an endless stream of people who want you to do something you don’t want to do.They might be bosses.

Or board members.

Or clients.

Or employees.

Or reporters.

Or just annoying busy-bodies.

Career books are chock full with strategies for how to deal with these people. The best tactics result in your deflecting the people who want you to do something without the people knowing that you’re deflecting them, thus preserving the relationship.

But sometimes the relationship is solid enough that nothing is going to change it.

And in those cases, you can employ a more direct means of communication, one whose existence I was reminded of over the weekend:

  1. Face the person who wants you to do something you don’t want to do
  2. Put your hands over your ears
  3. Shout “LA LA LA LA LA!”

One of my daughters employed this strategy with me this weekend.

It was remarkably effective.

The daughter simply did not want to wear the snow-pants that I wanted her to wear. It did not matter that the family was late and in a hurry and that it was cold and wet outside. My daughter was annoyed that I was getting impatient about her refusal to wear the snow pants I wanted her to wear. She was also annoyed that I had been granted the power to tell her to wear snow pants.

So she slapped her hands over her ears and starting shouting “LA LA LA LA LA!”

I made several attempts to talk over this gesture.

I scowled.

I pretended to storm off (while stifling laughter).

But my daughter is no fool.

So, eventually, as anyone would have, I stopped insisting that she wear the snow pants, and devised a more creative solution to the problem.

Later, I marveled at how effective this technique had been.

And I wondered how it would go over in the workplace.

Maybe I should try it.

Maybe next time, in a board meeting, when someone wants me to do something I don’t want to do, instead of trying to reason with them, I’ll just stand up, put my hands over my ears, and shout “LA LA LA LA LA!”

Oh, wait. That’s right. My relationship to the board can be modified. By the board.


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