How are you relating with your colleagues? What do you do when you sense unhealthy competition?
As an employee, I had my fair share of being misunderstood the same way I also misunderstood others in the workplace; it was a lot of tension, toxic energy, and unhealthy situations.
There was this ugly incident I had with one of my close colleagues that persisted; the tension was so much that even the tone of our emails was unkind. Finally, one day, while going for coffee, we bumped into each other along the corridor and agreed to meet for a frank talk. I was expecting the worst from our meeting, but this turned out not to be the case as we settled for a productive discussion after the initial few minutes of heated conversation and trading of blames.
Surprisingly, we both realized that we were chasing shadows and expending energies unnecessarily, which wasn’t leading us anywhere. So, we killed our egos/pride, addressed the issue, and apologized to each other. We then committed to collaborating better and supporting each other more, and till today we are still buddies long after I left the company.
In my experience, unhealthy competition (real or imagined) amongst colleagues is something we all may encounter at some point in our career; however, anytime I sensed any form of tension in the relationship with any of my colleagues, I saw it as an opportunity to improve my relationship skills. Consequently, I tried to zoom in on what I could do differently to address the issue and improve the relationship rather than focus on the perceived faults of the other party. But, of course, blaming the other party is always the path of least resistance.
Interestingly, showing genuine care and being transparent with my colleagues helped build a healthy and supportive relationship that served all of us in advancing our careers. It was more fulfilling to help and support each other to succeed rather than engage in unhealthy internal fights.
What have you learned about yourself to help you overcome challenging situations in managing relationships with your colleagues?