Be inconsiderate

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One participant in the business simulation I recently ran found another interesting takeaway: don’t be considerate of your colleagues.

Well, that’s not really what he meant of course.

But he realised that he would often not speak up about his issues that he could use help with because “the others have enough on their plate”.

He was trying to be considerate. But he came to see that this is not actually helpful behaviour: he withheld critical information form his colleagues. And decisions were made based on this incomplete information. Perhaps not the best decisions.

Now, I understand very well the desire to be considerate: I, too, shy away from conflict and would rather solve my own problems than weighing others down with them.

But that’s not actually helping.

Everybody “creates trouble” for their coworkers every now and then. It’s unfortunate, but of course it’ll happen.

There are, I suppose, two cultures where that becomes a communications problem:

  • the ones where you’re not allowed to fail, and resort to playing “blame mikado”: he who admits fault first, loses.
  • the ones where you like your colleagues, and don’t want to create trouble for them.

Either of those will lead to problems being swept under the rug. …and as we all know, if you ignore a problem hard enough, it will just go away in a huff :-)

So be considerate of your coworkers – by being open with them. Even if you feel it might create work or trouble for them.

Remeber, they can still say no, and not do the work – so really there’s no problem.

But at least the issue is now out in the open, and you can jointly decide how to deal with it, and watch it.

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