Be authentic. Your co-workers welcome it, they long for the same open, candid communication that you desire.
I have been fortunate over the years to work with teams from across the country. One common thread that shows up for many is the fear of having direct authentic conversations with their co-workers, be it supervisors or subordinates.
When you withhold your true feelings and forego expressing your needs and desires, stress begins to build at an alarming rate. This can make your work life miserable, and ultimately bring on a variety of health problems. So what do you have invested in holding back?
Be authentic. Your co-workers welcome it, believe it or not. They long for the same open, candid communication that you desire. So how do you accomplish this?
1.Take the first step.
If you’re waiting for your co-worker to “notice” something’s wrong, keep waiting. You both are on a team so that each of you could focus on your strengths and leave the rest to others. It’s up to you to reach out. Being “too busy” is not an excuse. Come in an hour early if it will help get the meeting together.
2. Have a consistent, scheduled weekly time to meet one-on-one.
The old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” definitely applies here. I was surprised how co-workers only meet as a group, and don’t have one-on-ones with those they regularly interact with. If you meet weekly, just for thirty minutes, then challenges won’t pile up and you’ll keep your stress level in check. Find a time that makes sense for both you and your co-worker, and schedule for every week here on out. Sell the benefits of having fewer interruptions to ask help from each other during the week, so meeting saves time instead of adding to either of your workloads.
3. Get clear on the real “issue” at hand.
One of the biggest mistakes is we allow our emotions to well up, and then we don’t focus on the real challenge that brought us to our point of frustration. Take time before you meet and write out in a notebook everything that’s on your mind. Then go back and read what you wrote. Typically, your flood of concern can be narrowed down to just one or two solvable challenges. If you clear it all out on paper, when you get to the meeting you’ll be able to have composure and be direct.
4. Propose solutions for the challenge.
Remember the classic book, “The One-Minute Manager”? If you bring your co-worker a challenge without any ideas for how to solve it, you don’t have a challenge – you have a complaint. Try to come up with at least two alternatives on how you’d suggest the challenge be resolved, and why. You may discover you can resolve many issues before the meeting.
Above all, speak the truth with your co-worker. Quit investing time and energy in trying to find delicate ways to approach a subject. Be respectfully direct, and you’ll honor yourself and your co-worker by doing so.
There are many tools to support you in the area of team building. If we can be of further assistance contact us at Info@McleanInternational.com, for a Free Strategy Session to help you create a more positive work environment, and benefit from increased productivity.
Executive Coach with McLean International
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