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Competitive or Undermining Colleagues > Competitive or Undermining Colleagues - Pg. 101

TRUST: THE ULTIMATE GATEKEEPER 101 -- For everyone, don't wait for your failure to be called out. Take it up the ladder--along with your solutions for address- ing the situation. Competitive or Undermining Colleagues We want to work in an environment where everyone gets along and contributes equally. But all too often corporations are set up to be extremely competitive, and there are fewer seats the closer you get to the top. Functional heads are frequently pitted against one another in a sort of psychic and physical endurance test to see who gets promoted. It's no surprise that relationships between people who need each other to get things done can turn toxic when it feels like a zero-sum game. This situation is miserable for all parties and produces significant stress. Ironically, teamwork is one of the key skills required for promotion. So whether the friction is with a peer or a colleague in an entirely different position, it's in everyone's best interest to find a way to, as Rodney King so famously put it, "all just get along." You may never be able to singlehandedly morph a rela- tionship, but you can do your part to enhance trust. How to start? -- Make it a mission to learn about your colleagues' motiva- tions. The more you know about what makes them tick, the more context you'll have for understanding their behavior. -- Share your perceptions in a nonthreatening way. Use "I" statements rather than "You" statements. For example: "I'm picking up on some tension. I'd like for us to find a way for us to work better together. What can I do to make this work?" -- Show your willingness to support your colleagues. Back them up in a meeting or call out their excellent performance. Talk up a colleague's project to others. Be genuine! Offer sincere compliments, not flattery. -- Encourage regular interaction. Find ways to work together one-on-one to increase the positive impressions you have of each other. Consider starting with a "How can we help each other" meeting. -- If you find your way to an honest dialogue, own up to your part and anything you've done to impair the relationship. American Management Association · www.amanet.org