Elegant challenging

When people act or speak in discriminatory ways, bully people or behave disrespectfully towards others, it can be very tempting to ‘have a go’ at them, to give them a piece of your mind. While that reaction is quite understandable, it can be highly problematic. This is because there is a danger that the person who is behaving irresponsibly will see you as the unreasonable one, to see you as the person who is behaving inappropriately. This can just make a difficult situation worse. ‘Elegant’ challenging, by contrast, refers to challenging inappropriate behaviour tactfully and sensitively, so that you are giving the other person no ammunition to fire back at you. Skilfully pointing out why what somebody has said or done is much less likely to produce a defensive response and is therefore much more likely to be effective.