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The Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review

 


THE MANAGEMENT TIP OF THE DAY: Harvard Business Review

May 24, 2016

Don’t Get Frustrated When a Colleague Flip-Flops


It can be exhausting to work with a colleague who keeps changing his mind. Just when we think something’s resolved, we get an email suggesting another direction. How should you respond when this happens? First, pick your battles. Is this a one-off situation or a recurring pattern? What’s the impact to the business, the team, and you? And what are the risks in addressing the behavior — or not? If you decide to address it, give your colleague the benefit of the doubt. Avoid phrases like, “I am so frustrated by…” and instead ask questions like, “Could you help me to understand what has changed in your thinking?” Through open dialogue to understand the assumptions at play, you can move on to suggestions to remedy the situation. Offer to help the process by saying something like, “I’m happy to document what we discussed to ensure that we have the same understanding and take-away messages.”

Adapted from “What to Do When a Colleague Can’t Stick to a Decision,” by Amy Jen Su


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