RE: Plays well with others

Subject: RE: Plays well with others
From: KMcLauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2001 17:00:31 -0500

Someone -- was it, perhaps bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com? -- continued
the thread with:

> On the other hand, recognizing that chronic behavior often has a
> reason may help you to act. In the end, it's more useful. You may
> still want to grind your teeth in frustration, but you might
> actually be able to solve the problem short of firing the problem
> employee.

I can honestly say I've never been grumpy/nasty directly
to the face of anyone where I work, though I have been
known to curse up a blue streak when the tools pick
deadline-time to * -at- #%! up... but we needn't go into that...

However, less than a year ago, a certain director took me
aside and told me that I had a political/attitude problem.
Personally, he was more than pleased with my work and
generally very amused with my... um... ascerbic (yes, that's
the word we settled on) style. The point, however, was that
certain humorless # -at- %&*!s had moved into influential positions
and apparently had it in for me, based entirely upon a
communication style that I had retained from the days when
we were a 35-person company.

I am still working for the same company, today, and I credit
that man's calm and forthright approach. Without his intervention,
I would likely have dug myself in deeper, all unknowing, and
found myself becoming one with the recent wave of layoffs
(we just chopped 10% today).
It was a simple, almost effortless adjustment on my part (taking
a different tone in my public e-mails), coupled with a one-time
nudge on his part, saying "See how much Kevin has improved on
this point in just two months" (or whatever).

So, the message is re-inforced that, if there's anything
worth saving in the employee, then it's certainly worth
letting them know that shortcomings or irritatants are
perceived. After all, behaviors that work or don't matter
in one context might unintentionally spill into other
settings, and it's really, really difficult to address/
fix/improve something if you are simply unaware of it.

The other, equally-important message is that if your
employee's ... er... qualities have elicited concern
outside your immediate group, but the employee
corrects her/his approach, it is essential to make
the change known to the outside parties. If you don't,
they will continue to harbor their previous impression,
which will color all transactions unfairly. You see
what you are accustomed to seeing, especially if the
change is a subtraction, rather than an addition to a
routine stimulus set.

I intend to keep those lessons close to my heart if the
company ever revives the plan to get me fresh, new,
shiny junior writer.



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