How can I be more assertive at work without being a jerk?
February 10, 2013 6:37 PM Subscribe
A new person started at work recently and has been trying to get the company to change course and use the tools they're used to. I've been taking the brunt of it and have ended up being really defensive. How can I be more assertive with this person, but also not end up coming off like a jerk? And how do I learn to work with this person? Snowflake stuff inside.
posted by anonymous to work & money (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I work at a small web development company. We've got our own de facto standards for development with regards to languages and frameworks. A new person recently started at the company in a mid-level to senior position, which makes them at the same level as me. In the short time they've been with us, they've managed to both chastise our current ways of doing things, and push really hard for us to more or less wholly adopt the frameworks they're used to. Here's an example: several meetings were held recently under the guise of "evaluating frameworks" but have really just been a way to point out the shortcomings of our standards and why this other system is so much better. This has made work for me extremely stressful. I've had to bear the brunt of this criticism, and have basically been forced into a defensive stance.
Despite it having been repeatedly stated that the company is not going to wholesale adopt this person's frameworks, they've repeatedly tried to get around this. I think this new person's close-mindedness to how things are currently done is detrimental to the company. In our discussions I've tried to be open-minded and accepting of a new option, but I feel like when it comes time for them to make decisions, they're going to fall back on their single option.
Since this person and I are supposed to be equals, I don't feel like I have the authority to tell them to pipe down. I've brought this up with our superiors, and they've talked to this person about toning down their rhetoric. I can't help but be paranoid that the company is going to go down a path that it probably shouldn't.
Now, here are my questions:
1. Other coworkers, as well as friends and family, have told me that I need to be more assertive with this person. I can't figure out how to do that without, well, being a dick. How do you push back on someone who's being that aggressive/assertive?
2. I'm going to monitor the situation and see what happens, but I feel like I should be more vocal with my superiors if I notice things. On the other hand, I don't want to be a tattletale. What's the right way to get around this?
3. Since we're supposed to work together, I feel like that means we should at least be of the same mindset when decisions need to be made. Is that a realistic thing to say, and if so, how do I get us to synchronize and move forward from here?