Write Them a Letter

    • One way to help the person to understand the impact of their behavior and request a change is doing it in writing.  This can feel easier than talking to the person as it allows you to express yourself without having to face them at the time.  That said, the letter is most effective if it is assertive and not aggressive, giving you voice without making the reader defensive.  As well, when a person receives a letter that they may well see as being critical, they can be defensive and may read the letter as if it were written in a negative (e.g. judgmental, sarcastic, threatening) way. 

      One technique that can be helpful to structure the letter is the DEN Technique:

      DESCRIBE the behaviour objectively (give specifics) - e.g." When you said to me..."

      EXPLAIN the effect that the behaviour has had on you - "I felt belittled and now I dread coming to work."

      NEED that is based on the behaviour described and the effect explained - "I ask that you do not refer to _______ again and that any similar conversations happen with a third party in the room."

      The Advisor can help you to draft your letter so that it is most effective at accomplishing your goal.