7 Things Firefighters Should Never Say
By Dr. George J. Thompson
1. “WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO ABOUT IT?”
This is the biggest cop-out there is. This pseudo-question, always accompanied by sarcasm, is clearly an evasion of responsibility and a clear sign of a lack of creativity! The phrase really reveals the speaker’s exasperation and lack of knowledge. Often heard from young public servants tasked with figuring out how to help someone when the rules are not clear.
When you say, “What do you want me to do about it?” you can count on two problems: the one you started with and the one you just created by appearing to duck responsibility.
Instead, tactically offer to help sort out the problem and work toward a solution. If it truly is not in your area of responsibility, point the subject to the right department or persons that might be able to solve the problem.
If you are unable or unqualified to assist and you haven’t a clue as to how to help the person, apologize. Such an apology almost always gains you an ally, one you may need at same later date.
Remember, insult strengthens resistance and shuts the eyes. Civility weakens resistance and opens the eyes!
It’s tactical to be nice!
Dr. George J. Thompson is the President and Founder of the Verbal Judo Institute, a tactical training and management firm now based in Auburn, NY. For full details on Dr. Thompson’s work and training, please visit the Verbal Judo Web Site.