Thursday, May 19, 2016

Engaging A Struggling Colleague: Defensiveness

A while ago, I wrote several posts on how to engage colleague who are struggling. This extends that discussion; its been on my mind. It is hard to talk to colleagues about their publishing struggles without eliciting their defensivness. So much is at stake, and they probably feel pretty bad about it.

It is important to remember that defensiveness is about feeling less-than. What may feel like an attack is really a form of defense. In order to prevent defensiveness, it is important to not come across as judgmental, and to talk about your own experiences. If a colleague appears defensive and angry, sometimes the best thing to say is "I am sorry." We don't lose "ego" by just apologizing, but they get to gain back the self-worth that was lost for the moment. 

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