by Karon Thackston © 2001
Granted, you can't always get
along with everybody. There are some people on this earth who simply won't
allow you to make friends with them. However, at some point in life, you
are likely to come upon a situation where a good relationship with a
coworker has become strained for one reason or another.
When this happens, I can only
recommend that you take the initiative to repair the damage as quickly as
possible. The result of not doing so will most likely hinder your
performance on every level - with internal and external customers. Let me
explain my point with this short, but true, story.
I began working with a lady at a
small company years ago. We became fast friends and our families even
spent some personal time together. It was normal procedure that I would
fill in for this person (who I'll call Debra for this example) when she
was on vacation.
One year, Debra left for a
holiday completely unprepared. Her paperwork was not organized, the
materials she ordered for projects were completely wrong and the
specifications she had given to the technicians were also lacking. To say
the least, she had left all her coworkers in a predicament.
During the course of Debra's
vacation, we discovered that she had used the specifications *I* had
created as part of a "test". I knew - and she knew also - that
there was a very high probability that the numbers were wrong. I never did
find out why she chose to risk using them unless it was due to her haste
to leave for a holiday.
Upon Debra's return, she was
immediately called into her supervisor's office and reprimanded. Shortly
after this event, I began receiving phone calls from fellow employees.
They were informing me that Debra was making every effort to blame me for
the poor quality of her work.
I went through a variety of
emotions from having my feelings hurt to being angry. I simply couldn't
believe a friend would do such a thing. I decided I wouldn't mention to
Debra that others in the company had informed me of her dealings.
That, however, was my biggest
mistake. In hindsight, I can honestly say that I should have gone
immediately to Debra and asked if we could discuss her actions.
From that point on, I became
increasingly intolerant of Debra. It seemed every minor mistake she made
brought forth angry emotions inside me. I was no longer
"available" to go to lunch with her. I made sure to walk the
other way when I saw her coming. Unfortunately, my behavior towards Debra
was being misdirected toward others also.
I began receiving complaints
about the way some customers were being treated by me. Had I been
projecting my feelings toward Debra onto others? I hoped not, but it
appeared that I had.
At that point, I realized things
had gone too far. Not only had my "falling out" with Debra
caused a chasm to form between the two of us, but it had festered and
grown out of proportion.
All human beings operate on an
emotional level. In fact, we are more emotional than we are logical. But
please take this advice. Don't allow a damaged or broken relationship with
a coworker to interfere with the rest of your life.
I have learned this from
experience… It is truly easier to overcome a poor relationship with a
coworker before it grows and becomes unmanageable than to sit staunchly on
your pedestal and spout, "But *I* was right!"
Karon is Owner and President of
KT & Associates who offers targeted copywriting, copy editing &
ezine article services. Subscribe to KT & Associates Ezine
"Business Essentials" at BusinessEssentialsfirstname.lastname@example.org
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