How To Handle Workplace Non-Listeners

Question: How do I handle a slightly senior co-worker, who is not exactly my superior, but tells other colleagues that I will do this and that. When I do not handle the ‘promised’, she tells them that I am calculative. Yet, if I do, it becomes my extra work, beyond my job scope.

Answer: Tell her sincerely that you would appreciate her discussing with you before promising anyone, as you might be too busy to do what she agreed on your behalf. Tell her that if not, you might have to explain to the other party that she promised without discussing with you. If you communicate sincerely, you will not be at fault. It would be her fault for not listening sincerely. Of course, when reasonable, you should be a helpful colleague too.

Question: Indeed, she does not listen.

Answer: Be more frank, by saying this very deliberately and clearly – ‘I’m sorry, as I’m too busy, I might not be able to cope with what you promised others. It’s best to discuss with me before promising.’ Make it short. Be a consistent broken record – repeat the exact words mindfully when needed, till the message is driven home. Even if not listened to, they are still true. 

When others ask you on what was ‘promised’, rephrase slightly the same reply. The key is to communicate without frustration or anger. You cannot control everyone but you can always control your responses. Be dutiful, truthful and blameless. Maintain good cheer, and never let others’ irrational behaviour bring you down. If things get worse, inform the above to your superior, just as sincerely. 

Related Article:
Mindful Broken Record

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