Conflict in the workplace is nothing new – there is always someone you are not going to get along with, not see eye to eye with, butt heads with, etc, etc. We’ve all worked with those people that we think are coasting through the day, leaving their work to others to pick up and take on.
There are two paths to handling this situation – either confront them about it and find ways to work with them to make it better or walk away.
This isn’t about walking away – that’s easy, push your chair back from the table stand-up, walk out the door or ask to be transferred to a different set of projects or something.
Problem + Avoidance = Resolution
Except it doesn’t, it might last for a while, or perhaps forever, but nothing has really been resolved, so there is always that lingering feeling within you of “woulda, coulda, shoulda”.
The first path is the hard one and sometimes the ugly one, taking the time from your day to make that phone call, send that message, schedule that meeting to talk with them and explain to them;
- What’s happening
- What’s the impact
- How do we make it better
- How can I help make it better
Some might immediately scoff at #4 – “Why do I have to help them get better when I am already doing their work for them?” – perhaps there is something larger going on there – whether it’s personal or professional… you don’t know until you talk to them… and maybe what they do really need is some help… some guidance… some learning… some something.
It’s not easy, if it was easy everyone would be doing it. And there could be more things then 4 steps, but maybe it is enough to get started. The hardest piece of this process, from any angle, is not giving up at the first failure, the first trip, the first lapse back into an old habit. Don’t let the final straw be something so small and insignificant that it sends you over the edge into fits of “I knew this would never work!”, “Here we go again, they still don’t listen!”, “How could they save the file to the wrong folder!” – making all those mountains of problems come flooding back to you.
If you’re prepared to invest the time to help someone get better, then you need to realize you’re in it for the long-run, Rome wasn’t built in a day and people don’t change overnight but if you do it right, you might be in for one of the greatest experiences of yours and their career.