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2014-07-07    来源:向Anne提问    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


Dear Annie: I recently started a new job in the small communications department of a big company. I'm happy to be here, but there's just one problem. The person who had this job before me was extremely well-liked and left behind some hard-core loyalists, including the person I share office space with. I'll call her Q. So far, Q has gone out of her way to undermine me. For instance, she has played dumb on tasks she would ordinarily be responsible for, leaving me to figure things out on my own.

I really don't appreciate her passive-aggressive resentment of me, since her friend left the job through no fault of mine. Also, I hate petty office politics. I just want to do my job and get along with everyone. I realize I need to be patient and give people (especially Q) time to accept me, but I don't want to be a doormat in the meantime. How do I stick up for myself without being confrontational about it? — New Kid on the Block
碰到这种阴损的人,我真的很烦,她朋友的离职和我没有一点关系呀。我很讨厌小鸡肚肠的办公室政治。我只想做好本职工作,和大家和睦相处。我明白我应该耐心点,让同事(特别是Q)慢慢接受我,但我也不想当人家的出气筒。我该如何维护自己的权益,同时又不显得咄咄逼人呢?—— 新手上路

Dear New Kid: "It would be interesting to hear Q's side of this," muses Monica Wofford, head of Orlando-based executive development firm Contagious Companies, which counts Microsoft (MSFT), United HealthCare, AT&T (T), and SeaWorld among its clients. "Often, we walk around assuming that everyone communicates the same way we do. But they don't. Q may be assuming, for example, that if you want her help figuring things out, you'll say so. Meanwhile, it sounds as if no communication is happening at all."
亲爱的“新手”:“我很想知道Q怎么说。”这是莫妮卡•沃福德的想法,她是来自奥兰多的高管培训公司Contagious Companies的主管,该公司的客户包括微软(Microsoft)、联合保健(United HealthCare)、美国电话电报公司(AT&T)和海洋世界(SeaWorld)。她说:“我们常常自以为是地假定每个人交流的方式都和自己一样。实际上并不是那样。Q可能会以为,如果你需要她的帮助,你自己就会说出来。听起来,你们之间完全没有交流。”

Wofford wrote a book called Make Difficult People Disappear: How to Deal With Stressful Behavior and Eliminate Conflict. The title, she notes, refers not to literally making anyone vanish (no matter how much you may wish you had a magic wand), but to training yourself to "stop seeing differences as difficulties. Most of the time, once you make the effort to understand more and change your own expectations, 'difficult' people become a lot easier to deal with."
沃福德写过一本书,名为《让难缠的人消失:如何应付窘境、排除冲突》(Make Difficult People Disappear: How to Deal With Stressful Behavior and Eliminate Conflict)。 她专门指出,不要把书名误解为真正让某人消失(不管你多么渴望拥有这样的魔法棒),题中之义是要帮助你自己“不再将差异视作困难,大多数时候,一旦你努力去深入了解对方,同时改变自己的期望值,‘难缠’的人就好应付多了。”

Great, but how do you do that? Wofford suggests starting with these four steps:

1. Withhold assumptions. Assuming anything about someone else's behavior, especially someone you don't know well, is risky and can lead to needless conflict, Wofford says. "Is Q really 'playing dumb', or could there be some other reason why she appears to be holding back on information?" Wofford wonders. "Until you discuss the situation with her, you're only working with your own data, and there are probably some crucial pieces missing." Withholding assumptions about what's going on "gives you time to gather more information, so that your perceptions are more accurate."
1. 别忙着做假设。沃福德说,对别人,特别是你所不熟悉的人的行为做假设很危险,有可能导致无谓的冲突。“Q是否真的在‘装聋作哑’,还是另有隐情,让她看起来在对你保留信息?”沃福德不由得想,“除非你和她谈谈,不然你只是根据自己得到的信息进行判断,结果很可能遗漏了关键信息。”不做仓促假设“让你有时间收集更多信息,达成更精确的看法。”

2. Hold off on labeling. You barely know your new colleague, yet you've already decided she's a "hard-core loyalist" and "passive-aggressive," Wofford observes. "These labels aren't helpful. The trouble is, once you've labeled someone, the description tends to stick," she says.
2. 别急着贴标签。沃福德指出,你才刚刚认得新同事,就认定人家是“忠心耿耿的追随者”和“阴损”。她说:“贴标签于事无补。而且可怕的是,标签一旦贴上就很难揭下来了。”

The human brain is wired in such a way that, once we have characterized someone or something in our minds, "everything they do, or don't do, will reinforce that," Wofford adds. "Your brain looks for evidence to support the label and overlooks all the input that runs counter to it -- even if there is more of the latter kind of data. You'll find that, if you ditch the labels, you can be a lot more objective and open-minded," which will be a big help in the next two steps.

3. Show an interest. Since, as coworkers, you and Q are both working toward a common goal -- i.e., getting work done -- why not try to find out from her what you can do to make that process run more smoothly? "You also have to be clear about what you need from her in order to do your job," says Wofford. "But it's important to listen carefully. Stay engaged in a dialogue and be genuinely curious. You may be surprised at what you discover."
3. 表现出兴趣。既然是同事,你和Q就会有共同的目标,比如完成任务,为何不试着和她交流,在你力所能及的范围内,找出让合作更为流畅的方法。“你也必须说清楚,为了完成任务,你需要她怎样地帮助你。”沃福德说。“但一定要仔细聆听。保持积极对话,展示你的诚心诚意。也许会有意想不到的发现。”

4. Ask the right questions. "One question that can be very revealing is, 'Can you tell me your expectations of our working relationship?'" Wofford says. "Do watch your tone, because 'expectations' can be a loaded word. But, asked in a non-confrontational way, it's a thought-provoking question that can lead to a real discussion."
4. 问到点子上。“可以提一个信息量很大的问题:‘能告诉我你对我们的工作关系有什么期望吗?’”沃福德说。“一定要注意你的语气,因为‘期望’有时是个分量很重的词。但是如果用和缓的方式提出来,这个问题会启发思考,引发真诚的讨论。”

Another approach that works, she adds, is to take a leaf from so-called targeted job interviews and say something like, "Tell me about a time when you had a great working relationship with someone here. What made it work so well for you?" Explains Wofford, "Trying to draw out a story will give you a lot more information and insight than asking questions that call for only one-word answers." Then follow through on what comes out of the conversation.

Your mention of giving your new coworkers time to get used to your presence is spot on, Wofford adds: "Everyone adjusts to change at a different pace. Sometimes simply recognizing and accepting that can make it easier to bide your time and focus on being great at your job."

Speaking of which, Wofford says that, in sessions with clients, she often hears that "work is difficult and demanding enough without also having to put all this effort into figuring out how to get along with people. The irony is, if you make the effort to understand the people you work with, the actual tasks grow easier -- and you get a lot more done."

Talkback: Have you ever stepped into a new job where you were replacing someone that others regarded as irreplaceable? How did you deal with it? Leave a comment below.

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