Self-Centered Coworkers

Question:

After working in this company for few months, I find that all the people around me are working individually to reach their own objectives without caring for other coworkers. Those people are self-centered and trying to keep secret information they have. This may affect the project on which I’m working. I need the information and cooperation from them. What can I do?

Signed,

Left Out


Answer:

Dear Left Out:

Of course I don’t know your history or your job description, but I assume you were hired because your company believed you could do the job.You must have had a positive history or if you had that same kind of problem elsewhere you kept it hidden. Therefore, after a few months of working, you should know what you need and where and when and/or from whom to get it to do your project. Without accessing that you can do your job, as you say is because of self-centered coworkers. What have you done to get what you need? Have you asked for general or specific information? Have you been refused or ignored? Have you then met with your supervisor to report that refusal? These are the only two sources; directly requesting what you need or obtaining with the support of your supervisor.

If neither of these works, you need to meet with Human Resources or the boss above your boss to clarify what is your job and who should make available the information you need.

If your supervisor does not have daily or weekly skull sessions with those in his/her charge, an opportunity to better performance is missed. Skull sessions are intended to learn how things are going; those that merit applause and those that need correction. One of the questions that too often is ignored is: How well are we communicating; what are we sharing with each other and what do we need from each other to make our jobs more effective? I assume that you don’t have that kind of supervisory coaching. The frustration you now sense might be what is needed to prompt your supervisory to start using skull sessions, provided you will not keep your frustration hidden. Short of that kind of supervisory leadership, you can ask for a short meeting with one or more of the coworkers from whom you need information and with a professional tone state what you and ask for their cooperation. It is unfortunate that you feel so cut off from coworkers that you see them as self-centered. Possibly they are not once you get to know them. It might help to reflect on why you have come to see them that way. Have you spoken with anyone to ask if you have failed to fit in or transgressed what those coworkers think is normal? What have you got to lose? Now you feel like an outsider. You won’t feel any more like an outsider by frankly telling them how you feel and that you want to do what it takes to fit in and make your work group productive. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Keep that in mind when you approach coworkers and your supervisor; in short think and act with the good interest of all concerned. Put in to practice; be the kind of coworker with whom you would like to work.

William Gorden