Last time you looked at a scenario between two colleagues, Sally and Annette. Sally was definitely having an issue with Annette’s communication style. We are not sure what Annette thought. (Catch up with their story here: https://www.margaretmeloni.com/the-communication-issue)
A call went out asking, can you help Sally? What advice would you give her? And you responded. And the resounding advice was…. There was no one clear opinion. About three different themes emerged. Let’s look at those themes right now.
- Sally is passive-aggressive and perhaps beyond help:
“…She is not only passive-aggressive, she is rigid and sure her way is the best and correct. She does not play well with others. By the middle of this brainstorming, Annette was reading Sally like a book… Annette handled the whole ordeal like a pro. She compromised without any apparent issues! …”
- Sally and Annette can best work together by representing different personality types:
“…I think Sally should approach Annette to ask her to plan events in the future with all the personality types played out and acknowledged. If you can get Annette to play all the types, she’ll start to see where they are coming from, and maybe even be curious to ask Sally to describe to her (Annette) what it is like to be one of the other types. It will increase her emotional intelligence at the same time as encouraging her to use her (apparently) big imagination, and it will support the company use of the personality types… WIN WIN WIN!”
- Sally needs to talk to Annette and establish some clear boundaries:
“Sally needs to re-evaluate the event and collect the lessons learned. Then to clarify these points for Annette that to consider in future events. Also She needs to establish ground rules for the relation between them, telling Annette to avoid ordering her in future and to allow discussion between them instead.”
“Sally needs to firm up on her approach. Her answers although not being harsh, also does not address the problem at hand, she needed to put her concerns through firmly.Annette is the typical bully in the office, who loves the attention and the power of being in charge, so let her be in charge, however make sure when the discussion is going south, you become assertive in what you believe… Do not accept a brush off as an answer, ask for a resolution, in that way you are asking the so called leader to make a decision, and ask for reasons for the decision he or she is taking to the point at hand. Always remember some people do not hear you when you sound as if you making a comment on what was asked or said.”
Which one is the BEST answer? Without knowing more of the details it is hard to say. What has definitely emerged is the diversity of our own community and the experiences we have had. In turn these experiences shape our opinions and ultimately our advice. Where one sees a bully in Annette, another sees a passive-aggressive colleague in Sally. Some of us represent Sally; some of us represent Annette, some of us are not at all like either of them. It is a good reminder for each of us to try and avoid assumptions about the behaviors of others, to allow for different ways of being and to continue to strive toward clear communications.