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Time to speak up

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in Workplace Communication,Workplace Conflict

Michelle, a vice president at a global drug company in Massachusetts, discusses her experience with a scheming colleague:

Another vice president, Stella, has been subtly sabotaging me in recent months. She tries to represent me in front of others and pretends to speak for me.

Well, she doesn’t speak for me. She knows it. I know it. Now I need to make sure others know it, too.

I’m communicating more frequently with pretty much everyone—from our senior management team to our top customers. I want them to understand where I’m coming from. And I’d rather not bash Stella in the process.

If they get to know me better, then they can pay less heed to what Stella says. At least that’s what my executive coach said, and I think that makes sense.

So instead of confronting Stella, I’ve been initiating more calls, e-mails and informal meetings with people inside and outside the company. I begin by stating my goal for strengthening our relationship. For my bosses, that might mean providing reliability, responsiveness and honest input. For customers, it usually means delivering exceptional service.

By leveling with people, I’m finding that I gain confidence about where I stand with them. They tell me what they think—and how I can get along better with them. For example, a senior vice president gave me some ideas on how I can reassure him that I’m making progress on assignments by following up in certain ways.

I figure I can sell me better than anyone else, so if I’m talking more regularly with more people, I’ll protect my reputation.




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