Friday, October 17, 2008

He Said What?

She closed the door and offered him some coffee.

"Jack says he has a problem working with you," she said.

"I'm stunned. Jack has never said anything to me about any problem."

"Well, apparently he has one. He feels that you dominate the conversation at client meetings. He thinks he should have more time with the clients."

"That's crazy. I've purposely held back so Jack would speak up and he sits there like a bump on a log. We can't just visit a client and stare at them. Someone has to talk."

"That may be true, but you two have a problem."

"No, we don't have a problem. Jack has a problem. If he has any issue with how I behave, he should come and talk to me about it. If we can't work things out, then we should get you involved. I have to admit I'm a little hurt that he didn't come directly to me."

"Jack says he's hurt."

"And now he wants to hurt me?"


jason greer said...

Difficult situation, largely because two folks who seem like they should be working together have absolutely no clue how to "dance" in client meetings, and apparently outside of the board room. You know it is bad when one of the parties brings in a third party to speak on his or her behalf.

Solution? One quick way to at least resolve some hurt feelings is to bring in a trusted HR pro to mediate between the two in an open "gripe" session. Get everything on the table and work from there. To make this work the HR pro has to be able to allow both sides to vent and then work to bring them together. Also have to factor in gender, racial, age demographics in creating an open engaging environment.

Second solution? Tell them both to suck it up and find some way to work together. This tough love approach usually backfires though.

Third solution? Have them shadow higher level executives as they handle clients and then create a debriefing session in which the executives can offer their perspectives on how they engage clients and work with internal executives in client situations.

Keep writing great posts. This is a fun site. Take care.

The Engineer said...

I moved past "junior high" a long time ago. If "jack" has a problem working with me then he'd better speak up. Sending in a "friend" is just picking a headstone.

Of course I am assuming that the "she" is a coworker not my boss. If it is my boss then the conversation will quickly turn to her evaluation of my performance. Her only option is to shadow the two of us and observe the reality. Then and only then might Jason's number three be the way to go.

Define the problem first then solve it.

Michael Wade said...

Thanks, Jason and The Engineer.

Please excuse my tardy response. It is always a pleasure to read your comments.

Good stuff!