Dodging the Macho Test

Ever struggled to communicate your ideas to a boss, co-worker, or even your spouse who thinks they know-it-all and can't see obvious problems? My friend Shelle Rose Charvet at calls this the "Macho Pattern."

When a person is running a Macho Pattern, they operate as if they believe the following:

  1. They are better, higher, more important, and more knowledgeable than anyone else.
  2. They do not have any problems; everything connected with them is perfect.
  3. If there are problems, they are of someone else's making. 

To make sure that your ideas will pass the Macho Test, learn how to edit your writing and speaking to match their pattern. 

As you examine your written or spoken ideas, is it stated or implied that:

  1. There is something they don't already know,
  2. You are telling them what to do,
  3. They have a problem and you have the solution,
  4. They are not perfect in some way, and/or
  5. You are better than they are in some way.

If any of the above are stated or implied, it will not pass the Macho Test! You may consider rephrasing as follows:

  1. As you probably know….(then state the thing you suspect they do not know)
  2. Use the language of suggestion: You might consider…
  3. I understand that other organizations have had this issue and what some of them have done is…(state how have you solved this problem. This implies they may have already solved all the problems.)
  4. With your experience and knowledge in this area … (you're the best judge of how this idea will benefit or enhance the organization).
  5. Your role is…. My role is… (establishing different yet equal roles)

You probably already know exactly who the Machos are in your life so you might consider incorporating these subtle changes into the presentation of your ideas. I know that other people have this problem and that once they rephrased their ideas to pass the Macho Test, the people they were addressing stopped being Macho and became more willing to participate.

With your experience in dealing with Macho people, you will be the best judge of which of these techniques will best serve you. My role is simply to identify better ways of motivating people with language; yours is to implement at least one of these ideas to see how it works.

© Shelle Rose Charvet, Succcess Strategies,

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