Thursday, May 21, 2009

Communication Skills

As I reflect back on today I can't help but think of a problem at work that's literally been going on for years. It's between two men who've known each other for over four years and started out as friends. Even lunch buddies. Something went wrong about three years ago and they've never been the same since.

One reports to the other one. And they both wish that their jobs didn't overlap at all. Those of us on the outskirts of their relationship see similarities in them... they both are prideful, they both aren't good at apologizing, they both don't want to be confrontational, they both don't feel the need to communicate effectively. Thus the pot stirs and their working relationship deteriorates further each month. They both blame each other for tasks that are left undone or misunderstood.

Several people have tried to intervene. Now its up to their direct boss as to what their fates will be. Counseling sessions have not worked. Advice has not been acted on, perhaps because it wasn't fully understood due to the emotional constraints these gentlemen have. Or maybe the advice was not taken just out of pride.

I don't know.

It's just a sad situation.

I wish both of these gentlemen would get a bit of professional guidance, see what they could improve on within themselves, and then see if they can turn the other cheek and move forward positively for the betterment of our company. If they don't figure it out one of them might end up losing their job. None of us want to see that happen.

Their situation reminds me of situations I've had where communication broke down. When things were left unsaid but resentments kept building. When I didn't try to "talk it out" then eventually I erupted. That left a few relationships broken. It wasn't always a one-sided argument. Lots of times more than just me was at fault. But, I've learned that its better to try to confront a negative situation with the intent of working things out than to just let it stew. Even if I haven't succeeded at least I can move forward with the knowledge that I tried.