Dealing With Your Evil Twin
Breathing deeply and counting to ten before responding doesn’t work for everyone. Here are a few additional thoughts that may help you through some rough patches:
1. “When you point your finger ‘cause your plan fell through, you have three more fingers pointing back at you.” (Make a fist and point your finger if you don’t get this line from an old Dire Straits song.) Chances are it won’t just be your own fingers pointing at you. Those who make a habit of blaming others often find themselves sweating under the spotlight.
2. You can never really know what is going on in another person’s world. We probably all remember situations where we’ve been frustrated with colleagues only to find out later that they were going through something that we didn’t know about such as a major health issue.
3. Stop the name calling. Even if the stress gets to be too much for you and you need to vent to a trusted colleague about a situation, try to keep it objective. Thinking of your colleagues as lazy or incompetent doesn’t move the situation forward. Try to never say anything about a co-worker that you would not say to him or her.
4. Prioritize and then pick your battles carefully. Your priorities are not necessarily the same as your co-workers. You need to make sure that you aren’t making an issue out of everything or the really serious matters won’t be taken seriously. Ever heard something like this? “Oh you know Joe. He’s never happy. Don’t worry about it.”
5. Pick up the phone or walk down the hall. As efficient as email is, it’s easy for the tone of your message to be misunderstood. Think about this quick message delivered on email.
“What’s going on? I haven’t heard anything about the XYZ project lately.”
When you wrote that, you heard a casual, pleasant voice inside your head. XYZ project is important to you, but you accept that you’re partly to blame for losing touch with the project. You just wanted to reengage.
Your co-worker, who is up to their eyeballs in a crisis in ABC project, sees your message as criticism of them and their handling of the project. Not a good way to reconnect.
Not being critical doesn’t mean you have to accept poor performance. Just treat the situation openly and objectively and try to understand all sides while you work with your co-workers to address the issues that really matter to the business.
Posted by Melissa Paulik