Difficult Colleagues? No.
We’ve followed these scenarios in this series to get rid of faulty thinking:
- Paradigm Shifters – these people help us focus on possible new, bright futures. Paradigm Shifters are priceless! They see the possible “what ifs” to create brand new revenue streams. Our problem is that we don’t recognize them for what they are – they don’t fit our mold, so we cast them aside as Difficult Colleagues. Learn to spot and value these awesome people!
- Gender Behavioral Differences – our own gender behavior biases make us think others are Difficult Colleagues. Don’t allow your perception of how someone “should” or “shouldn’t” act color your thoughts about them. We’ve gotten in our own way on this issue.
- Fundamental Attribution Error – our bent to attribute negative character flaws to others in situations, while making ourselves seem innocent in the same behaviors. Remember to tell yourself at least three different scenarios about a colleague’s behaviors before you make snap judgments about them. Talk to your coworker – ask how they are doing when you feel that something is “off.” Be the one who helps them. Don’t relegate them to Difficult Colleague status because you don’t understand their situation. You are not pristine either.
- Conversational “Un”Intelligence – learn to regulate brain neurochemicals in conversations. Understand when we’ve dumped “bad” neurochemicals into our conversations and then, learn how to turn the discussion around with “good” ones. Ask questions of yourself inside the interaction: “Did this conversation just turn dark? How can I lighten it up again?” Be curious – it is one of your best options before a conversation goes completely awry. Use your curiosity to build goodness back into the conversation.
- Company Culture Unfit – recognize when your organization’s current culture isn’t ready to address a Trust issue. Figure out ways to collaboratively create more trust. An organization that doesn’t include its front-line workers in these discussions is doomed to repeat its failures. Become vulnerable with each other and own your own problems. Then work on the fixes together.
- Personal History/Family of Origin – learn about each other, especially in your dominant teams. Learn what has made each employee who they are today. Be kind and compassionate – we’ve all had to weather many storms in our lives. Give others the gift of understanding, of “seeing” them, of coming alongside them in life, and in your combined work together. They are continuing to evolve in their lives, just as you are.
You share an extraordinary journey together inside your organization. Labeling people as “Difficult Colleagues” is an easy way out; managing their ways or getting rid of them, completely. Instead, we’ve demeaned and damaged others to puff ourselves up as if we were infallible. Allow a renewed sense of acceptance to permeate your organization – it’s the sweet fragrance that will create your very best teams.