Reply To: Work problems

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One thing I’d say is that it’s important to teach our coworkers about our needs and our limitations. It can seem risky at work to talk about areas that you’re not good at, but most employers and coworkers are all about getting the best work they can out of the team they have. So, it can mean having some conversations with your coworkers to help them understand what you need from them.

For example, “In the past you’ve let me know that things I’ve done haven’t been up to standard or have made you frustrated. It would really help me if you could let me know as those things happen. If I do something that either makes someone upset or isn’t what people were looking for, I need real time feedback in order to address it. I’m not the best about guessing when people are unhappy, so it’s always better for people to just be direct so that I can help fix it or at least try to.”

That may not be appropriate for what is actually going on in your current situation.

The other thing I’ll say is that sometimes we assume a lot about other peoples’ behavior. We assume that they’re angry with us, and when they give us feedback down the road we take feedback as negative criticism rather than just feedback. We ascribed emotion to what people say when they aren’t always feeling that way. It can be helpful to do some reality testing and clarify. “When you say _____, I just want to clarify. Are you made about ____ or am I misinterpreting that?”

Work relationships and making coworkers happy is hard. It’s never your job to make other people happy, but you can lessen the stress you have to deal with if you help improve communication with the people you interact with every day. Again, most employers and work teams want to get along and get the best work possible out of everyone. Usually we can help each other do that once we get better at communicating.

Good luck!