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Quit Your Posturing!
March 1, 1999
|When we speak
of "posturing" we're sure that you all know what we're talking about.
It is the practice of carrying on at great length about how right you are
and how wrong the other side is. Often involved are heart-rending
displays of emotion, table thumping, wild gesticulating, beady eyed staring,
scripted speeches and veiled and not-so-veiled threats about inevitable
next steps if your unfeeling adversary does not do whatever it is that
your posturing is supposed to compel them to do. Posturing is widespread
in labour relations. It seems that at any moment in time whether
at the bargaining table, grievance meetings, labour management meetings
or any other venue where labour and management representatives meet to
hash out contentious or sometimes even routine issues, an enormous amount
of time is spent posturing. While one side often accuses the other
in engaging in this annoying and usually pointless exercise, both sides
are very adept at it. The problem is, nobody buys it. The receiving
side almost inevitably walks away dismissing the entire speech as just
so much...posturing - even the parts of it that are valid or may
contain information worth noting or looking into. They then of course go
on to do posturing of their own although they never think of it as such.
Take our advice: Stop it! Cut it out! It's not helping you! Nobody buys anybody else's posturing. It just gets in the way of productive communication. Worse yet, if you really do feel strongly about something one day, nobody will take you seriously. They will only assume that it is just more posturing. So, when engaged in a dialogue about something you feel strongly about - no matter how strongly you feel: Speak as you would to anybody else. Get your point across but don't do the overkill. People respond much better when they feel they are talking to someone reasonable. Overkill just gets everybody's back up and puts them on the defensive. Also, if you are new to the labour-management relationship, you will quickly be labelled as a hot head, blow hard or all around big-mouth. The rest will be history.
Because we are generally unwilling accept that our posturing is just that. Here are some signs that you are prone to posturing and probably guilty of posturing:
You see the other side (labour or management) as inherently evil.