Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Politeness - A Best Practice

The clients blowing things out of proportion and getting intolerant about the minutest slipups
The production team just does not get it!
A peer asks the question already addressed in an email sent days ago
A team member commits the same error explained a number of times before
The production team forgets to implement the change so important for the client

These are some of the frustrations I face in my role as a Learning Strategist, just as many other professionals in this role. In time, my best practice has been to be polite. If that's tough to be rightaway, I just take a break - coffee, tea, friends..anything that allows me to be kind to the 'perpetrator' :) and gives me space to be able to present my dissatisfaction in a dignified manner.

I have to accept that there have been times when I have been direct in my criticism. Having done that, I have almost always regretted my action - it takes away team spirit and the scars sometimes remain much after the project is long over.

Handling client is different. Jeff Jackanicz, an amazing project lead who I once worked with, taught me an important lesson for handling client-related frustrations - "Don't give in to the temptation of justifying your stand. Clients don't have that kind of time to read your explanation and empathize with it. Try to move the project ahead. Don't give another opportunity to the client to complain." I have held on to this advice - it works!

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