Before I tell you about the standoff heard 'round the world, staged by my personal favorite actress Greta Garbo, I would like to ask you: How did handle the last @#%@$%& that came across your path? What worked?
What went down:
When Garbo became a sensation she was still grossly underpaid, especially compared to male actors in her category.
So, Garbo and her agent Harry Edington took Louis B. Mayer, notorious MGM studio chief, to task.
Mayer told her:"If you don't accept my terms I'll have you deported."
Garbo responded: Try, but before you can I'll marry John Gilbert for citizenship.
Mayer ran a look-alike contest to replace Garbo. The press flipped out. No one can replace our Garbo.
Mayer then warned Garbo he would put her in minor roles.
Garbo: Fine, I won't show up to work.
Mayer then tried to find another actress for Garbo's next movie.
Fine. But they both knew that Mayer would make more money with Garbo in the lead role.
Garbo faked an appendix problem to create more delays. Bags of fan mail continued to arrive every day addressed to Miss Greta Garbo.
Mayer was losing more and more money as the start-date for her next movie was pushed back.
AND HE CAVED.
Garbo got a huge increase in her salary and a new contract. She went on to be the highest paid screen actress of her generation.
Passionate Class Lesson #13:
Know your boundaries and stick to them no matter what.
Garbo was clear: she was not going to settle for unequal treatment. She ran the numbers: Mayer and MGM were grossly underpaying her and making incredible profits from her talent. They were quicker to give male actors raises. Why? Garbo didn't waste time thinking about that. With Swedish pragmatism she simply said NO. No way. She knew her value and simply stayed firm.
And calm. Mayer was known as the best actor at the studio: he would cry, beg, joke, threaten -- whatever it took to break an actor down. Garbo sat with a stony face and let Mayer go through his rants.
Then left the office with barely a word. In another contract negotiation she simply said: "I think I'll go home now."
And grabbed the next boat to Sweden! She came back when she got her way.
Not saying a word gave Garbo an upper hand in contract negotiations again and again and AGAIN.
Try it sometime.
How about you?
How have you handled a $#^@%^ -- a real handful? What have been effective?