Episode #141 Write 'Em Up

What if submitting a formal report was not an act of cowardice but of courage, not an act of retaliation but of reconciliation? This week, Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Justin Brown encourage us to lean into difficult conversations and offer an alternative for when we fail to speak up.

Show Notes

When you see something, say something. But when you don’t say something, write something.
Dr. Justin Brown

Five Problems

  • Every single human being has experienced, witnessed, or been impacted by mistreatment of some kind… and some of us have benefited from the mistreatment of others.
  • We often struggle to initiate difficult conversations, and we typically are not as good of bystanders as we would like to be.
  • We each have varying degrees of vulnerability to retaliation, so speaking up and writing ‘em up are acts of privilege.
  • The system doesn’t work primarily because we fail to use the system to fix itself, and there is no possibility for accountability without evidence.
  • Those who are responsible for hiring and firing are often oblivious to the daily injustices, workflow inefficiencies, and problematic personalities affecting the people they oversee.

Five Principles

  • Writing ‘em up is often the pathway to fixing problems, creating accountability, and caring more deeply for others.
  • Even when we do nothing in the moment, we can always do something in the moments that follow.
  • Sometimes being written up by others is a blessing in disguise, giving us that wake-up call we wouldn’t have experienced with verbal feedback alone.
  • When we confront the hostility around us, we cultivate a culture of safety.
  • Writing ‘em up has the potential to create a positive and productive environment where there was once a toxic and unwelcoming environment.

Ten Steps to Writing ‘Em Up

  1. Examine your emotional response by considering, “Why do I feel this way?”
  2. Evaluate your intention by asking, “Am I motivated by a desire to help or to harm?”
  3. Channel those negative emotions into something positive by making the decision to complete a formal report.
  4. Review the facts of the situation (with others when appropriate), writing them down quickly and before you forget.
  5. Identify the system in place to submit a complaint or report an error.
  6. Document the situation with objective terms and evidence.
  7. Ask other witnesses to corroborate your story or submit their own reports as well.
  8. If willing, provide your contact information for any additional questions or necessary clarifications.
  9. Trust the process.
  10. Repeat.