(This is Part 5 in the Now You Can Series. Read Part 4 here.)
Everyone needs to be challenged to become better, to become more. Without challenge, things don’t change. So part of our responsibility as parents, friends, bosses, neighbors, colleagues, is to bring challenge to others. How? For some of us, bringing challenge is easy. It’s part of our hardwiring, or it’s normal for the context. (For instance, as a parent, it might be routine to correct your child, or find a way to help them improve.) For some of us, bringing challenge is harder. It doesn’t square with the way we’re wired, or it seems too risky to mess with relational harmony.
Calling People Out
I’m going to teach you a simple wording change that will help you challenge people in a positive way. Here goes: Stop thinking in terms of “calling people out”, and start thinking in terms of “calling people up”.
We all know what it’s like to be called out. “Hey, Tom, you really screwed up here.” I suppose there are times when that’s warranted, but we also know that this approach can wield great harm. It may convey that one person is against the other person and has them on the ropes. It can cause uneasy team dynamics if delivered publicly, and it can position people for defensiveness. But “calling someone up” presumes that there is something good in them, even when mistakes are made, or when skills can be improved, or when behavior left something to be desired.
Calling People Up
So, try it. When needing to challenge someone (even yourself!) use the wording “call something up”.
“I see something in you that I’d like to call up. You know, you handle yourself really well in front of a group. I think you should give public speaking a chance.” “I’d like to call something up in you. I’ve noticed that you have amazing connectivity when you’re looking at me in the eye, but you seem distant when you’re looking at your phone during our conversation….”
Let me know how it works for you in the comments below.