Marie's Answer: If you consider Beth’s point of view, her reaction isn’t surprising. After 15 years of successful job performance, she’s suddenly informed that she’s doing it all wrong. Based on her own experience, the old way works just fine, so why should she listen to a newcomer? After all, she hardly knows you.
To turn the situation around, consider these suggestions:
• Your intentions are positive, but your approach is ineffective. If you want Beth to embrace your ideas, you need to start by developing a relationship with her.
• Show Beth that you respect her years of experience. If you are willing to learn from her, she will be more open to learning from you. Ask her questions about the job, the customers or the history of the business.
• Talk about the work, not the person, to avoid sounding critical. Saying, “You could do that more efficiently” implies that Beth needs improvement. But saying, “I think we could streamline the billing process” keeps the focus task-oriented. For more Office Coach feedback tips, check out How to Give Feedback without Criticism.
• Finally, don’t hog the credit. When you have an idea, include Beth in developing an implementation plan, then make a joint presentation to your boss.
Because you’re the newbie, your manager will likely see you as the source of these new approaches. He will also be impressed by your collaborative spirit.