by Bryan Golden
Intimidation causes you to behave differently than you would normally. You don’t respect people who intimidate you. You resent them. You are afraid of the consequences should you defy their wishes. Intimidation is only effective when you capitulate to it.
When intimidated, you are never happy. You become angry and frustrated. Intimidation may be either intentionally used or a function of your own perception.
Someone applies intimidation when deliberately using their power to threaten you. Threats can be either overt or implied. Someone has power over you when they are in a position to inflict negative consequences.
Sometimes you feel intimidated although there is no attempt by the other person to cause it. In this situation, it’s your perception causing the intimidation rather than the other person’s intention.
A situation where you are an employee can be potentially intimidating. Your employer has the power to fire you or make your job miserable. A good employer creates a comfortable work environment where you are encouraged to do your best. An intimidating employer constantly makes it clear your job is on the line. Their management style is to use the threat of job loss as “motivation.”
Perhaps you are an employer or supervisor attempting to manage a misbehaving employee. In spite of repeatedly asking them to improve, there is no change. You are hesitant to take corrective action because of a concern about how they may react. Even though they haven’t done anything threatening, you feel intimidated.
A coworker can be intimidating. If they don’t perform their job properly, a larger burden may be placed on you. You worry that if you say something, they will make disparaging remarks behind your back.
A noisy neighbor can be intimidating. You may be afraid to ask them to quiet down because you don’t know what their reaction will be, even though you have no evidence they will react poorly. Perhaps you have approached them only to be told to mind your own business.
You may be intimidated by your adolescent children. The fear is that your kids won’t like you if you assert yourself by insisting on appropriate behavior. You worry that if you are strict, they won’t want to spent time with you.
Some people have intimidating personalities. They are usually unaware of the effect they have on others. Their character is strong and forceful which tends to have an overpowering impact. With this type of person, your reaction is based on your perception rather than any deliberate behavior.
The basis of intimidation is fear. It holds you hostage. Your behavior is affected by what you feel others may do or think. Although intimidation is a difficult situation, living in fear won’t alleviate it.
It doesn’t matter whether intimidation is intentional or is your perception. When you get caught up in it, there are a number of deleterious effects. You invite more intimidation. You lose respect. You advertise what buttons can be pushed to control you. You get taken advantage of. You get upset. There are people who erroneously believe there is no choice but to live with intimidation. When you remain intimidated, the situation will become worse.
On the other hand, when you refuse to be intimidated, there is a good chance the intimidation will stop. The schoolyard bully is a good example. He preys on those who are easily intimidated. The bully passes by those who stand firm.
If you are used to feeling intimidated, changing takes time and effort. It won’t happen overnight. Start with one situation. As you build up confidence, expand your “I will not be intimidated attitude.” Try it — it works.
NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or write him c/o this paper. 2006 Bryan Golden