Inevitable Diplomatic Spats

by | Feb 7, 2019 | Change |

Your team has meetings with another team, you agree to work more collaboratively and share information. A few days later, someone from one of the teams gets blindsided with something your team is doing but he didn’t know about and he calls you on it saying it is old behaviour and a spat ensues.

Changing behaviour is tough; there is a part of it that feels controlling, even potentially manipulative, even though that is not the intent. Old habits and behaviours rarely change overnight and so when you are engaged in change it is more of a stuttering forward than a straight smooth road.

When we work with other teams, we should expect spats not be surprised by them. Perhaps we can even view them as a good thing as it means people on the teams are wanting to hold each other accountable and call each other when they see old behaviour.

How we deal with spats has an impact too. The quicker we can turn off the email or whatever chat mechanism we prefer and either get on the phone (if you work remotely) or physically see the person the better. Listening, truly listening, to the other’s opinion and the backstory makes a world of difference; apologise when necessary, and reiterate the common goal.

Diplomatic spats can allow us to understand each other better and continue to talk about the change we are seeking. And we all know that the more we understand the people we work with and reiterate the change we seek, the better the chance of success. We build the new culture one spat at a time; people like us, do things like this.


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