Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Engaging Struggling Colleagues: Taking the Risk

I want to recognize that there are risks involved in doing so engaging colleagues who are struggling. Sometimes the risk are emotional, sometimes they are "political," sometimes taking such a risk can put an important relationship at risk. As with all risk taking, we have to carefully weight the pros and the cons, and consider if the risks are worth taking.

There are times in life when it is best to be kind and to avoid conflict. Yet, when a colleague/friend is clearly in trouble, sometimes what is kind and "good" in the long term is not what is easy in the moment.

It is an emotional risk engaging colleagues about their lack of productivity and their struggles with writing and publishing. It is easy for someone to feel defensive, and many of behave in less than pleasant ways when feeling the need to defend. How this defensiveness looks various greatly. It can range from mild annoyance that will soon pass, to rage and a desire for "revenge."

Before you engage a struggling colleague, consider how you think they may react, and consider the risks for you. 

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