QWC - Co-worker Problems
I’ve been assigned to a team of six colleagues from various business units to work on a major program. This is a high visibility project and we have to work together closely to be successful. The problem is one of the team members is someone I don’t like working with. She’s overbearing, talks constantly and never listens to anyone else’s point of view or ideas. I don’t know how I’m going to get through this project and keep my sanity, let alone work closely with her to meet the many deadlines that are expected over the next several months. How can I make this work?
Frustrated Team Member
These days many of us spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our spouses and children. And they’re not always the ones we would choose to spend our time with either. There are strategies you can take to get the work done and not let this person get the best of you. Consider these ideas:
- Focus on your common purpose. Discuss as a group the specific goals each of you need to meet to achieve the overall goals of the project. Communicate about what you think your own job is and how other people see your job. Just being clear about what your role is on the team and how it fits with the overall project can lead to a higher comfort level among colleagues.
- Nominate a team leader or facilitator. This person should set the tone and guidelines for meetings and enforce them! That means monitoring how much time each team member has to talk and how much time is allotted for group feedback. The leader should model how to communicate respectfully among peers and make team members accountable for meeting the same standards.
- Don’t expect this person to change. The biggest mistake people make in any relationship is to expect the other person to change how they act. This is unlikely to happen, particularly in a work environment. The old cliché is true—the only behavior you can change is your own. Try and demonstrate a willingness to cooperate and hopefully you will find her willing to change as well.
- Pick your battles. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you’re going to take on every single issue, you will add unnecessary tension to your relationship and your day. Let the small details go and focus your energy on what you perceive to be the real problems.
- Be the bigger person. Even if this person is pushing your buttons, try to ignore her. Be attentive, compliment the points you agree with in front of the group and be the role model for good business behavior. If you give this person the acknowledgement she craves, she may be more likely to contribute more appropriately in a group situation.
For more information and articles on getting along with co-workers, go to the Achieve Solutions website.
If you need more help, you can always speak with your manager or your HR business partner and ask for direction and guidance. If you are not comfortable talking to someone at work about these issues and believe they are affecting your ability to work productively, you can contact the Northrop Grumman’s EAP at 1-800-982-8161 for free confidential telephone or face-to-face counseling sessions (up to 8 visits).