Question: I’m having a really hard time getting along with one of my co-workers. She is really good at her job, she knows a lot about the work and can be a great help (when she feels like it). The problem is, if she’s not in a good mood, it’s like pulling teeth trying to talk to her. If she’s having a hard time on a project, I’ve learned to leave her alone. When I’ve brought this up to her, she’ll say something like, “You just don’t understand me.” That may be true, but I don’t think she understands herself. Most of the time, I’m on pins and needles wondering if today is going to be a “good” day or a “bad” day. What do you think I should do to help her get a better handle on how she comes across to the rest of us?
Answer: Your question is one that I am sure many readers can identify with. Every workplace seems to have at least one employee who requires “kid gloves” treatment. The basic issue here is that your colleague sees herself differently than others see her. What needs to happen is that these differing perceptions need to be brought into alignment.
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