Work Space is a bi-weekly Q & A column that addresses night-long work challenges. You can read all columns here. If you need advice on navigating at work, send a question to email@example.com.
The questions have been lightly edited and summarized for clarity.
Q: I’m organized and like to plan. When you want to share an idea with the people you work with, you can write very e-mails and documents and do a lot of work, but often there is no response from your colleagues.
Sometimes I get a one-word answer, and I need to guess what part of my job is responding and what it means. The worst case is when you receive a short, probably one sentence, response. This means you have to go back and start over with your own set of tasks.
I work hard and feel like I don’t mind how much time people spend preparing everything. What am I doing wrong? Do they hate me?
Your colleague hates you, so you probably won’t ignore your email or respond shortly. Often they have a different job or approach to email than you do. You send a lot of information and expect people to give you a long thoughtful response. From time to time, you send detailed plans without telling people that a document will come.
If you are looking for your ideas, detailed feedback, or a conversation about a collaborator who wants to build something with you, starting with very detailed emails is not the best way to get there. If you think more broadly about how to communicate your ideas, rather than focusing solely on email replies, changing perspectives will open up new ways to work more effectively with your colleagues.
My No.1 please-if-you-do-one-thing-from-this-advice-column-do-this-one-thing specifies how to tell how your personality wants to communicate Is for Note how you can be more open to other people’s communication preferences. It is very common to assume that others will work on things the same way in nature, but in fact, you can have very different ways to reach conclusions. People who like to bounce ideas from others like to talk things. People who want to work independently often prefer to sit with something for a while.
Being able to identify some of your strongest personality traits is important to better understand how to communicate with others. The Myers-Briggs rating knows many people who swear that you have a great focus on being introverted or extroverted. CliftonStrengths ratings are especially useful for reconstructing conversations about what people are best at and for teams looking for the best way to work together.
Personally, I found the Enneagram to be the most useful. This framework includes subtle insights into how people are doing well and under stress, beyond static personality types. For example, as a type seven, I am very outgoing. When I’m at my full strength, I can be a big hype for a project. Excited by the possibilities, made quick connections and responded very sensitively to others. When you are stressed, you have trouble finding other people’s ideas. Focus on brainstorming lots of new ideas in case something goes wrong. I like to talk things with people. If I emphasize, you could skip someone’s big idea emails because you’re focused on your output.
No matter which tool you choose, Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, CliftonStrengths, etc., it provides a general framework for better understanding your personality, along with specific insights related to how you interact with people. Pay particular attention to whether you tend to process information orally or in writing. Do you work on your own or in a group? And do you prefer to collect data before making a decision or do things more intuitively? It is helpful to have insight into your style and how it affects your work. Recognizing other personality styles and how they intersect your style is the next level.
Watching the archetypes and quizzes boil down the aspects of your personality can sometimes be a tough reality, but with a better perception of what my style is, people are more likely to work on how to work I found it easy to talk to me. None of the archetypes or styles are 100% true to you. Open-mindedly approaching them will almost certainly recognize yourself or someone you know, and it will help. Also, when I’m working on the behavior I want to change, I find it easier to identify and correct the pattern.
With more people working remotely as a result of the coronavirus, thinking about the deeper challenge you are facing, how your communication style fits with others, Is more important than ever. When working in the same place, it is difficult to guess other people’s approaches. Now that you are more dependent on email and other online communications than ever before, it’s a good opportunity for you and all of us to ask people about the best way to get information in a useful way.
As a check-in opportunity, you can take advantage of the confusion of what it looks like when more people are working remotely. You may notice that there is more time for one-on-one conversations. Or you may suddenly notice a Zoom call with a group of people. Here are some questions that you can ask your colleagues and co-editors, aimed at giving you insights into how people communicate.
- What is the best way for someone to ask a question and approach you?
- What is the least useful way for people to approach you?
- What is the important time to check in to the project?
- How do I share updates in a useful way?
- How do I follow up if there is no reply?
Whenever you want to reset a chemistry in a work relationship, these questions give new insights. Indicate to your colleagues that you are interested in how to work with them to avoid straining or doing extra work, in addition to the data you retrieve.
When starting a new project, working with new people, or checking in how to work together [one-on-one meetings, annual reviews, reporting on methods], communication and working style check-ins Especially useful. The project has advanced]. You don’t have to ask all these questions at once, and you don’t have to reach everyone working at the same time. Choose the question that best applies to you and your situation.
To dig deeper, you can use this Work With Me worksheet created by No Hard Feelings authors Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy: The Secret Power of Accepting Emotions at Work. Their guides touch on how you want to receive feedback and the most important things you need to know when communicating with you.
Take some time to answer your questions before going to your colleagues. That way you can talk to people about what works for you. Using more languages for the default way of working will help give people better ideas on how to work. You may also notice that you expect others to do it naturally.
Send me a good feeling
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