Starting a new job is never as easy as we hope. Research says it can take six months to a year to really get to know the technical part of a job, the people part…that can take a bit longer.
I was asked this week to help out two of my colleagues who are having difficulty “understanding” each other. We are part of the C-suite of positions in the organization (CFO, CEO, COO, CHRO), which might have the rest of the organization believe we know how to communicate effectively with each other. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Having had my own issues with one of them, I was concerned about my ability to facilitate and support them without letting my history get in the way. I’ve been well-trained to listen and give feedback; to coach people toward a mutual agreement. Training and reality, however, can be two different things. I turned to a trusted advisor outside of the organization for some guidance.
My advisor role-played the scene with me until I felt confident about the approach. Early yesterday morning, before the rest of the staff came into the building, we had our session. My worry about separating my own “stuff” from their issues was unfounded. After a forty-five minute discussion they left the room with good feelings restored and an agreement on how they will communicate in the future.
Today’s thank-you is to the people who trained to be a good listener, the advisor who helped me to prepare, and to my colleagues for trusting me to support their success.
In Dealing with Difficult People:
- Why Arguing with Jerks Won’t Work
- “All people” Means “That Person” Too
- Difficult People…
- The Workplace Martyr
- Personality Conflicts May Not Be What They Seem