Baker Schena Communications

Unleashing Your Potential through the Power of Words

Empower Yourself: Take the High Road

Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours. – Dave Willis

We’ve all been there: Your boss is intolerable. Instead of nurturing, he/she criticizes. Instead of being appreciative, he/she pushes your workload boundaries. Instead of creating a joyful, creative environment, he/she fills the office with doom.

After you come to the realization that things are not changing anytime soon, you decide to take another job. Your first inclination is to give your boss a piece of your mind before heading out the door.

STOP IT. It’s time to take the high road -- even though the temptation to seek revenge or speak your mind is incredibly tempting.

Indeed, one of the most difficult things in life to do is take the high road during contentious circumstances. The natural reaction when someone is pushing your buttons, or being unreasonable or even bullying you is to respond with equal vehemence. If nothing else, it makes you feel better.

Yet what I’ve learned through the years is that you can never go wrong taking the high road in the workplace. Not only is it an effective negotiation and coping strategy, but you will always feel secure in the knowledge that you did not stoop to someone else’s level.

Believe me when I say you have NOTHING to gain being spiteful for all the “wrongs” your boss committed. Odds are, your boss is blind to his/her behavior and has no desire for “self-enlightenment” or to improve as a leader. Getting down in the muck just to prove your point will only end up with you feeling angrier and even more powerless.

Instead, acknowledge to yourself that this person is who he/she is, and move on. Let go of the anger, leave your job with your head held high – TAKE THE HIGH ROAD, and get on with your life. You may temporarily feel better trying to strike back at the other person, but in the long run it will do you more harm than good.

And I am not suggesting being a doormat. There are many ways to cope with an intractable boss (ask me about Nonviolent Communication). But at the end of the day, when you realize you can’t change him/ her, avoid stooping down to his/her level. This not only will prove EMPOWERING, but you never know what the future will bring, and burning bridges is never a good idea.

This also holds true for colleagues, friends, former friends, lovers, ex-lovers, retail workers, “customer service” representatives – EVERYONE in your life.  You will travel a lot farther on the high road than you will getting stuck in the ditch of pettiness.

Never sacrifice your class to get even with someone who has none. Let them have the gutter. Take the high road. -- Unknown


Dr. Lori Baker-Schena is the founder and chief executive officer of Baker Schena Communications, a firm dedicated to “Unleashing Your Potential Through the Power of Words.” We offer motivational speaking, leadership consulting and medical writing services. Find us at