An Unusual Technique for Coping with Office Politics

This little procedure takes just a few minutes, and can change your situation with your worst coworker, customer, employee, or even a family member in spectacular ways. It is not necessary to do this thing exactly ‘right.’ If you mix up a step or have something out of position, it is likely to work well anyway.

1. If your most vivid memories of this undesirable person involve sitting, arrange three empty chairs approximately as shown. If it was a standing situation, chairs are not needed.

2. Sit in chair A. Try to imagine your undesirable person sitting in chair B. With the parts of you that can do it, move yourself into your co-worker in chair B, and see the world through the other person’s eyes, hear the world through this person’s ears, and so on. For the next few minutes, you are this other person.

3. As that other person, you are looking at yourself in chair A. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel about the person in chair A? What do you think about that person in chair A?

4. Whenever you are ready, get up, and do something to break your state. Spell a word backward, walk in a circle, just anything to free your mind for a moment.

5. Sit in chair C and become an independent observer. You are not yourself or the other person. As the observer, what do you see, hear, think, feel about the interaction between yourself in chair A, and the person in B?

5a. Try imagining that your chair is very far removed from chairs A and B, and see if anything changes. How about if your chair becomes very close?

6. Break your state. Sit again in chair A, be yourself, and notice if anything has changed in your thoughts about the other person.

7. As necessary, feel free to repeat the steps of this procedure.

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