Don’t expect your colleagues to be like you

Highlights

Don’t expect your colleagues to be like you. Of late, Rukmini has been getting frustrated at work.

Of late, Rukmini has been getting frustrated at work. She feels that things are not moving as much as she wants; it is getting increasingly difficult to get any cooperation from colleagues within and outside her department. She made several attempts in recent times, but all in vain.

Being a passionate individual, Rukmini gets restless when others do not match her passion. She is also an aggressive individual, which may come across as imposing on others. She also finds others to be lethargic and at times casual in their approach. She particularly gets annoyed when others do not acknowledge or reply to her mails. Out of anger, she shoots out another mail with a stinker.
Suresh also experiences similar feelings with colleagues. He considers himself to be organised; he prefers to have things in place, daily schedules well planned and projects well managed. However, he often finds himself ending up in delayed meetings, canceled schedules, missed deadlines and endless excuses from colleagues. He wonders why they cannot be organised.
As much he expresses his disappointment, others find him to be insensitive to their challenges; in some occasions, others even felt as if he was trying to expose them in front of others which resulted in ruptured relationships.
Why do you think Rukmini and Suresh are having a tough time? Both of them are well-intended professionals. Why are they not able to get through others? They both continue to wonder why others are not like them!
It is true that they both are passionate and ambitious individuals. They carry many positives in them. However, the biggest missing piece seems to be their appreciation of diversity.
Diversity – what does it mean?
It is a simple English word, which indicates variety. Diversity can come in many forms at work place. Most well known forms of diversity are gender diversity, cultural diversity, language diversity, age, nationality and so on.
In addition, diversity can also come in more subtle forms such as styles, skills, values, personalities and so on.
We are not be the same
We are certainly not the same in our work styles, our skills, our priorities and personalities.
For example, all of us may not learn the same way; some prefer learning through reading; some by doing; some by observing and some by thinking. If you force me to follow the same learning style that works for you, I may not show excitement. I will become a slow or disinterested learner.
Similarly, when two people are working, their working styles may not be the same. One prefers to think, plan, discuss and then do; where as the other may like to get on with doing and if a problem arises, then approach others. Some prefer working in teams, while some may like the individualistic approach.
Similarly, you may bring some unique skill, which I may not have. In other context, our priorities may not match. What you expect from me may not be on top of my list and therefore I may not attend to it with same sense of urgency that you expect.
More fundamentally, we may not share the same personality. You may be very talkative and outgoing person while I may be a reserved and shy kind of a person. I may not feel comfortable to speak up in your presence where you are speaking aggressively. Or you may get irritated looking at me sitting silently in meetings.
Who is right?
The key point here is not to debate who is right; rather it is important to note that we are different and others exactly may not be like me in all aspects. Appreciate the diversity and learn to coexist. We can learn to understand others and see how we can complement each other so as to achieve the results together.
What will be the unifying force?
Our positive intent and commitment towards the organisation and the goal is the crucial link that aligns all of us despite the diversity.
A mature professional need to understand that others are not exactly like him/her and yet respect others as
crucial contributors to the bigger goals. The spirit to adopt is: together we can!
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