298: When You're Being Bulldozed

13 Minutes Read

As a leader you've no doubt experienced being bulldozed.

You know, those times when a colleague is: 

  • Talking over you
  • Making decisions that affect you without checking in
  • Boxing you out of a situation

Or any number of ways that can make us feel not seen and not important.

It's painful. But the good news is that there are ways to respond to this that lead to you being more empowered as a leader.

In this episode, you will discover:

  • How to respond in the moment when you feel misunderstood or angry
  • How to create a safe space for when people just need to vent, and when to jump in with support
  • How to set and share boundaries that make it harder for others to bulldoze you


Coach and lead powerfully—even people who tend to bulldoze you—with the Superabound method. Learn more and join the next cohort here.

If you want a coach to help you set better boundaries and lead with confidence, we have openings for new VIP one-to-one clients. Learn more and book a consultation here.

Listen to this week's episode on Apple Podcasts here

Listen to it on Spotify here

Watch the video here

Full Transcript

Steve Haase  0:01  
Welcome to the Superabound podcast with master coaches, Erin Aquin and Steve Haase, where entrepreneurs and leaders learn coaching tools to help you build a business you love, you are listening to Episode 298, what to do when you've been bulldozed. We've all been there, somebody says something or does something that makes us feel not seen not respected. It hurts. Most people have one of two reactions, they either get very quiet or they lash out in anger, neither of those really serve you in the long run most of the time. So today, we're gonna dive deep into what's the best way to respond. You don't want to clam up, you don't want to start a fight, you actually want to move everyone towards your shared vision, you want to be a leader. And so how do we take this very common occurrence for so many of us and find the wisdom, not just in ourselves, but even in the relationships that make it all happen. So if you work with other people, and you ever find yourself feeling angry, or feeling misunderstood, and people kind of walking over you, you are going to get a lot from this episode. And if you are looking for further support, then the podcast itself allows, we would love to have a conversation with you about working together one on one, we still have openings in our coaching practice for VIP clients. And it begins with a free visionary meeting that you can book at, besuperabound.com/consultation, it's a chance for you to connect with that future version of yourself that is responding in different ways, has maybe processed some of those unconscious responses, and handles adversity in the way that you really want to be doing in your best moments. So we hope to see you there, if that resonates with you, and enjoy this week's episode of the podcast. If you were to be a telepath, if you were to be able to read somebody's mind that you would not need today's episode.

Erin Aquin  2:19  
Because if you're telepathic you can skip it.

Steve Haase  2:23  
Just go right ahead, get on with your day. But if you might

Erin Aquin  2:27  
still need it actually seem just because you can read a mind doesn't mean you can control other people.

Steve Haase  2:35  
This episode is for you if you've ever been bulldozed by somebody, not literally, but like, you know, with with in a conversation in some kind of communication through a decision process. If you felt like somebody is not taking your presence into consideration, and just is talking over you treating you poorly. What do you do? What do you do, especially if you are a leader in an organization, and this is coming from a peer, even a direct report, they can sometimes do this in meetings. If you're a coach, and a client is doing this. Sometimes we don't know what to do. And we've done a lot of thinking about this actually came up in one of our training sessions today for the Superabound coach training program. So we're going to unpack it. What are some creative responses? What are some empowering responses to feeling like you're being bulldozed?

Erin Aquin  3:34  
So I always take the approach I try to because I'm still human. And sometimes I want to feel like I'm being bulldozed. I just want to go back to the person I'm talking to, or who's talking at me. But I think, when I am well rested, and really in a grounded position with myself, which happens sometimes, the very first approach I take is to look at my own static about what is happening. When I was a brand new coach. I had some clients who really just like wanted to vent they wanted to talk, they kind of thought that maybe coaching was a lot like some talk therapy that perhaps that they had done where like, I know there are forms of of support out there where 90% of the time, it is the other person speaking and the practitioner help whoever they may be. Maybe asks a question or two, but they just like let someone talk for 45 minutes. That is not our white coach. And it would kind of like I would get a little panicked because it'd be like they're all over the place and they're told me 10 different problems and I have no idea what to focus on. And something that I sort of learned over the years was to really check in with myself, and kind of put it in the context of what was situationally appropriate. Steve and I work with a lot of leaders and a lot of professionals, a lot of folks who often when they are feeling static, when they're having an emotional response to something, they can't often respond from that place, they have to like stuffed their emotions down, they can't say what they really think, or they have to like really veil it in a lot of sophisticated language that's appropriate for the moment, they may have to hide their reaction entirely, in order to keep a brave face for the rest of their team. What I realized was, the more that I was working with those people, the more I felt like, actually, this is a safe space. As a coach, I'm creating a safe space for this person to actually say, without censorship, what they really feel and think. And I found out that that can be very healing for some people that can be really supportive. Now, it doesn't mean that I sit there and let my clients vent for hours on end. But it does mean that when I sense that someone just needs to, say the truth of what they're experiencing in the moment, I don't try to I try not to cut that off, where I stop, where I feel like, okay, this person is maybe not bulldozing me but like they're this feeling and their emotions are taking over the session in a way that's not helpful, is when I look for when when someone starts to repeat themselves, when they start to say the same thing over and over again, then I'm like, Okay, we're getting we're bulldozing ourselves straight into the ground here. And that is when I interject or intervene, you

Steve Haase  7:03  
bring up a couple of interesting things. One is the idea of bulldozing is often as harmful for the bulldozer, as the perceived bulldozer, right, that, you know, if someone is failing to communicate well, that it's as harmful for them, potentially as it is for you. And it's usually our own static that has us feeling personally affronted by it, why aren't you leaving room for my glorious insights? Well, because they're in pain, there's something happening for them, they're not seeing you, right, there's, there's a lack of connection on their side as well. So I love how you point out being present with your own static about it is, is important. And then also, the threat of as a coach, you're not always there to solve someone's problem, you're there to create an experience of coming home for themselves, of finding a place in this world where they can feel completely welcome completely at ease, and working on the things that matter the most to them. And so as a coach, which also applies if you're a mentor, a leader, someone who has trust invested in them. It's important to notice, do we make space for someone to feel at home feel welcome, feel heard? Or is this the moment to to offer some support. And I love the rule of thumb with if they start repeating themselves, this might be the moment to jump in. But some people as a coach or as a leader, the moment a problem comes up, they're like, Okay, let's, let's, let's do some surgery, folks. And that might not be the most welcoming embrace for that moment.

Erin Aquin  9:07  
Yeah. That is true. And it's it's a it's a skill. It's something we work on a lot in our certification program and something that all of the Superabound coaches are constantly refining and finding their own style with with their with their clients and the people on their team. So it's not something that you necessarily are going to just like pick up once after listening to this podcast. But another sort of weigh in is notice, you know, what's your kind of style of reaction when you feel you're being bulldozed. There are people who remain quiet and they just let the other person keep going. And they just kind of go inside of themselves and don't respond, don't intervene and they don't feel Like, Oh, I can't say anything. And there's others who will, as you said, Steve, like jump in right away and get to problem solving. It's good to notice what your tendency is. Because very often our like natural tendency is a defensive mechanism for our own awkwardness. You know, if you are a person who has to solve the problem, it's because you can't probably sit with someone who's in pain. I had a post about this, like, responding to people who share a struggle with you. The natural tendency that you have, is very often about you and not about them. So recognizing what that is. And then if you really feel like you're being bulldozed, and maybe you're not in a coaching position with this person, maybe it's someone who is a colleague who is talking over you or pushing past you or cutting you off, and it's become maybe a habitual thing that you notice. I'm going to offer you something that you might not like here.

Steve Haase  11:15  
It's our job as coaches,

Erin Aquin  11:17  
you're probably not going to like hearing it. It is your job. For your best interest for your vision for your lanterns, for the sake of this working relationship you have with this other person to take a good hard look at how you have contributed to a dynamic where someone feels like they can bulldoze you, or someone feels like they can cut you off talk over you push you not consider your opinion. And there's a way to do this where some people will tear that and they'll be like, it's all my fault. And I'm a terrible person. And I've created this dynamic and I deserve to be bulldoze. That is not all what I'm saying. I'm just saying that sometimes what happens, we've seen this a lot with folks that have had not knocking, general mindset coaching, because mindset coaching is great. But sometimes what happens, which is a little different from how we coach as Superabound coaches is people will say, I'm going to work on my mindset by thinking a better thought, so that I can be okay. In the presence of whatever behaviors happening around me or in the presence of a culture that I'm not a big fan of here in my workplace. What we try to do as Superabound coaches with our clients is teach them to actually honor the feelings that are coming up. As in our book, we talk about this a lot as sort of an alarm bell to something that is not in line with your vision or your lantern. So when you feel like you're being cut off or bulldozed, and it makes you react in a way that's tense. The solution is not to make that okay, in your own mind. Because when you make it okay, in your own mind, you're actually just telling the other people who are bulldozing you that this behavior is totally fine with me, you're creating it, you are actually actively contributing to a dynamic where you will be bulldozed in that relationship forever, because the other person is just fine. And you will appear on the surface to be just fine to

Steve Haase  13:37  
that kind of shift is actually it's a form of violence against yourself, because it's taking your reaction. And you're you're judging it as like, this is not okay, it's a form of self loathing in a way, saying this reaction is not welcome. I need to change it, in order to fill in the blank in order to get along to get promoted to do the right thing and anything there, you're you're you're choosing that at the expense of your own self.

Erin Aquin  14:10  
You're bulldozing you,

Steve Haase  14:11  
the tables have turned Oh, interesting. And that's not to say that whatever reaction you have needs to be acted out. And we're not saying okay, maybe if you get silent, you should start saying, table flipping.

Erin Aquin  14:30  
We probably don't do that we're

Steve Haase  14:32  
not advocating table flips. But what we are saying is that there is wisdom in that response, because it can fuel how you want to collaborate with that person, how you want to approach you know, whatever topic it is that you're working out, around the, you know, on the email thread or around the discussion table. There is something very important in that and maybe it's only important for your own kind of healing and integration process over time. But it matters because you matter. And it is a real response. So rather than, you know, working with your coach to change your mind so that you can be okay with his bullshit that's happening.

Erin Aquin  15:15  
spending so many paths for you, that's the bullshit, teaching you what is the bullshit alert alerting you to it within yourself?

Steve Haase  15:23  
Yeah. That is the source of real empowerment. Yes, yeah, that's the source of empowerment. And we share all of this, again, not as a source not as a way to blame the victim. But as a way to discover your real empowerment that goes beyond Hey, let me think differently about this crummy situation. It's actually, how do I embrace this whole thing? How have I co created this? And what do I want to transform it into?

Erin Aquin  15:50  
Yeah, because we are always teaching people how to treat us. And so if you only ever work out your feelings inside of you, and try to like find a way of thinking pretty think, pretty think pretty thoughts. If you only ever do that, you are actually contributing to a status quo, that is only going to like, upset you again on Monday. So while you don't need to get into table, that being one of the things that can be really useful, even if you're not in a coaching mentorship relationship with someone is I'm going to share this question because this came up and I offered this to some folks in our in our certification program, and I think it's valuable, is actually talking with the person who you feel is bulldozing you at a time when your nervous system is not activated. And just saying, Here's what I noticed, here's the facts of what I noticed happened in this meeting, you talked over me, you when I or not even that maybe even more specific and less dramatic, you could say, when I was sharing this in the presentation, you interrupted, you started going on a different track, which took us off topic, I didn't get to finish my presentation, or make the case I had for this idea. And I've noticed this happens often several other occasions, I can mention or this, this and this, I want to know how we have created a dynamic where you feel comfortable interrupting me interrupting my presentations. Not letting me finish an idea. Because that dynamic doesn't work for me. It's not helping me like that lanterns that we're both support, supposed to be lighting here. And I'd like to change it. But I can't do that without you. It's actually coming to the table in a collaborative way where you are not saying, Hey, you did this to me and you're a bad person, it's owning your side of the street saying, I clearly in some way indicated that this kind of way of us interacting was okay with me. But I want to let you know it isn't, and I want to change it. So it's being proactive, it's being powerful. It's taking ownership for whatever you've contributed to the dynamic without blaming the other person or shaming yourself or any of that kind of interpersonal, static that often happens in relationships.

Steve Haase  18:41  
But I think you hit on some really important points there. And that's it's best not to respond to these things when you're feeling activated.

Erin Aquin  18:50  
If you can help it often good idea,

Steve Haase  18:54  
right? So even if it's just taking a deep breath, taking a drink of water or something to kind of ground yourself and bring you back to you know, your body on days, bring you back to home base. If you need to respond in the moment, those would be some ways to do it. If you can respond later, that might be the best way as well. But when you do, approaching it in a collaborative way, with the facts on the table, rather than your interpretation of the facts, because even you're bulldozing me, you're talking over me. Yeah, that's blanket that's accusatory. It's not when I shared this idea. I didn't finish it because you said

Erin Aquin  19:44  
you know the saucy mid sentence. This is what you said. Yeah. That is really, really helpful. I just interrupted him to bulldoze, you

Steve Haase  19:52  
know, this is a collaborative conversation. And so As with anything, there's no cure. But if this is something that you find happens a lot and you find yourself activated, often, this will be a good question to hold. I often work with people on like, what is the powerful question that you can hold for the next period of time, that will help you unlock something important in your leadership and your business. And so if this is something that really resonates with you, the question could be, how am I contributing to this process? And what energy am I bringing? To transform it? Yeah, oftentimes, your own reaction to the experience of being bulldoze contains the seed of the energy that you need to communicate and collaborate with people in a different way.

Erin Aquin  20:50  
I'll offer one more question that you could journal about. And really think about when you're taking time between feeling reactive and you know, wanting to have a conversation and change a relationship dynamic is, how would I like this relationship to go? Sometimes that is something you can also share with the other person, you can say I really want a positive, collaborative working relationship with you. But I feel like there's this blockage because when I present, you often interject and I don't get to finish my ideas. And I want to change that dynamic, because I think it's really blocking us from having this relationship that I envision. You can do this with your co workers, you can do this with your family members, it is really, really powerful. And I will acknowledge that, if you've not done this before, especially if you're a person who just kind of holds it in and silences yourself, it's going to feel uncomfortable. But I promise you, one or two conversations after you've done this a few times, you'll understand that it's much more uncomfortable to let the dynamic keep going and let that resentment and an bulldozed feeling, continue, because that is actually not only affecting your relationship with the other person, it's you affecting your relationship with yourself, it's you tolerating behavior that doesn't exemplify your own worth and contribution to the world. So if not, for the sake of the relationship with the other person, do it for you. Do the uncomfortable thing for you. And of course, if you need help with this, this is why Superabound exists. This is why we coach, we have our certification, which will teach you how to be a confident and amazing coach and leader. And we have private one on one coaching options where you can work with us and have your own coach to support you and make sure that you don't get bulldozed without your permission.

Steve Haase  22:56  
Yeah, so you can learn more about the one on one coaching at besuperabound.com/consultation Where it includes a free visionary meeting, where you actually take some time to tune in to the future version of yourself. That is transforming these relationships from feeling bulldoze to actually feeling empowered. And then we'll come up with some ideas for how we can go from here to there. That's really the purpose of that conversation. We have several of those available. So I'd love to see you there. If that resonates with you. 

Erin Aquin  23:35  
And if you're interested in coach certification, you can find out more about that at besuperabound.com/certification 

Steve Haase  23:42  
Thanks for listening. Talk to you again.