Collaboration Communication Issues
July 24, 2012 4:25 AM Subscribe
Looking for communication strategies in a tricky management situation, as well as general management resources.
posted by House of Leaves of Grass to work & money (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I’m stuck in a tricky management situation with an inter-institution collaboration. I’m working with employees at another institution (no hiring/evaluation privileges) who have a very different communication style that’s causing some problems. Two of the people in this collaboration have a much more emotional communication style than I do—their emails and phone calls focus on how they feel about what they’re being asked to do. This is problematic because they’re carrying out their portion of this project with occasional disregard for protocol, as well as demonstrating some jaw-droppingly unprofessional behavior (attempting to kick collaborators out of a shared training session, for one).
Email chains between our site and theirs might go like this:
Us: I understand that you’re having some issues with Project X.
Them: Yeah this is all so dumb this is a total moving target we were told [patently untrue thing] and now you’re telling us [true thing].
Us: I hear your concern; in the future you should [follow protocol].
Them: Well we’ll do what we’re told but we won’t change midstream just because you feel like it.
Us: Can you please correct this problem with Project X?
Person 1 at Site 1: This is not my fault.
Us: Can you please see that someone at your site corrects the following issues with Project X? (These are clerical errors that should have been caught several weeks ago)
Person 1 at Site 1: You are KILLING ME.
I need to communicate to them that they must follow our protocol and collaborate in good faith. I’d like them to feel heard and like their feelings have been addressed—we’re never going to get anywhere if they resent us. I do not have the ultimate power to really get firm with them, although I can go over their heads to their project manager if necessary. Any suggestions? Any general suggestions for reading for management communication?