How to practice constructive impertinence in the office (and avoid getting fired …)

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They are rare, but he is one of them. Eric Dumartin will rarely blame you for your impertinence, including during a job interview. “For us, humor is one of the essential components of business life,” says the director of human resources Linkbynet, a company specializing in hosting solutions and the cloud. Because it allows you to say certain things and improve productivity. But this case is far from being a generality. “According to a study we conducted, 96% of employees believe that humor is important, analyzes Elodie Arnéguy, consultant in change management and co-author of a A little treatise on humor at work. And at the same time, 63% believe that it is not used enough in the company. Among its virtues, we see in particular the possibility of taking a step back from certain complex situations.. “

“In order not to go too far, it is better to avoid using impertinence under the influence of impulsivity. Because constructive impertinence, by definition, is reflected.”

Be sassy with humor (but not only)

What if the impertinence was useful to the employee? Agnès Muir-Poulle believes in it to the point of having written a A little treatise on constructive impertinence. ” Constructive impertinence is the idea, for an employee, of telling himself that he has the right and above all in his interest, and often for his organization, to dare to give an opinion and get out of the established framework. But the founder of the Maraé cabinet immediately broadens her point. “Too often, we reduce impertinence to humor when it is much broader than that. Humor can be a means of expression but it is a talent that is not given to everyone. We often risk falling into irony, which is a form of attack and which is never constructive. “

Constructive impertinence to unblock a situation

Because what are we talking about exactly? From the “attitude of someone who seeks to shock by freedom, the displaced character, the insolence of his manners, of his words” according to the Larousse dictionary. And it can just as well be a question of words as of deeds. “” Impertinence is a useful attitude when an employee is faced with something closed that can harm him or the company. », Confirms Silvana Frazzetta, consultant at Atmosphere Coaching. This former employee of a large food group speaks from experience. “I remember taking risks and using software that was strictly forbidden to me for a mission. I disobeyed and dragged people with me. But I got excellent results and my superiors finally congratulated me. Impertinence is constructive insofar as it allows to advance a project and unblock a situation. But we must also hope that the future proves you are right! “Difficult, in fact, to sanction an employee who ultimately acted in the common interest …

Precautions to take before intervening

Despite everything, impertinence remains an attitude to be handled with care. Agnès Muir-Poulle readily quotes a phrase from Jean Cocteau: “Tact in daring is knowing how far you can go too far”. In other words, there is the end to be taken into account but also the means. ” In order not to go too far, it is better to avoid using impertinence under the influence of impulsivity. She continues. Because constructive impertinence, by definition, is reflected. “There will always be a less reckless colleague to tell you: ‘Go ahead, you!' However, you should not start lightly and especially choose your words. We can thus try to reframe a manager in a meeting with tact if we have the impression of wasting time. Or, tell him in a factual but one-on-one way that we were embarrassed by the way he spoke to someone. To be a constructive impertinent is indeed to learn to say no and take its share of responsibility in the operation of the company. “

“The relationship with the hierarchy is not the same for everyone, confirms Silvana Frazzetta. I work with different personalities and I noticed that the impertinence was more present in certain profiles “rebels” as they are called in Process Com. These are naturally more unconventional and impulsive and sometimes have to channel themselves. For others, more respectful of the established order, you have to leave your comfort zone. But in the end, each situation also depends on the emotional intelligence of the manager opposite… ”

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