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ftp901's avatar

I've got a meeting coming up with two shady co-workers, how can I prepare?

Asked by ftp901 (1300points) September 8th, 2010

I have a meeting coming up with two shady characters. One is lying about me behind my back at work (blaming problems/project delays on me as a scapegoat) and the other is doing crafty things behind my back to get co-workers on her side and acts like she wants my job. I have to work with them on an upcoming project, how do I keep the peace without ending up in pieces?

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12 Answers

kevbo's avatar

Document everything (record meetings and correspondence) and throw their dysfunctional shit back at them when they try to blame you for things. Do it every time and do it thoroughly.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Try to be as professional as possible. If you are worried that the co-workers may try to get you in trouble, take a tape recorder. Tell them you want to record the meeting so that you can listen to it later in case you forget any of the ideas you discuss.

Austinlad's avatar

@kevbo has it right, but I respectfully disagree with @seaofclouds about recording the meeting or even threatening to do so. That can only aggravate an already tense situation, plus it’s either frowned upon or forbidden by HR/Legal. Just bring solid documentation and take lots of notes.

lynfromnm's avatar

At your meeting, keep minutes. Make sure task assignments and deadlines are clear, and all 3 of you sign off on it. Then email the minutes to them, with a cc to the boss. Be sure to set a date for the next project meeting, and repeat.

Meet all of your own deadlines and tasks and make sure the chart for tracking tasks and deadlines is updated at each meeting.

This is a professional way to handle the matter. Don’t let their sneaky tactics distract you.

zen_'s avatar

Maybe it’s you? You might want to look inward and figure out why they are doing that. Just saying.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Austinlad I’ve never worked anywhere that it was against policy to record our meetings. At one of the hospitals I use to work at, we use to do it all the time at our meetings and then someone would type up the meetings and give a hard copy to everyone in the department. Keeping notes will do little good if it turns into a he said she said type of situation.

@ftp901 If recording the meetings really is against the policy at your work, definitely keep detailed notes and keep any written correspondence between you and the people in your group.

Jeruba's avatar

I agree with the above advice that boils down as follows:

Keep it professional. Take the high road. And document.

Be clear not only about what the tasks are and what belongs to whom but what defines “done” for each one. Also stipulate the contingencies for each (what is needed in order to accomplish it)—for example, if you are supposed to draft a quick-start guide based on design specs, define when you’re supposed to get the design specs and from whom, and specify a day-for-day slip if they’re late in coming to you.

And yes, send copies to all (and cc your manager, or bcc at the very least) and get their buy-in before proceeding.

A wise friend told me when I began a new job: “If they don’t give you as much authority as responsibility, take what authority you need when you need it—and spread out the responsibility.”

srtlhill's avatar

Get a good nites sleep before the meetings so you’re at the top of your game.
No pussy footing around if you feel you’re getting jerked around SAY it.
This is work not high school if coworkers aren’t doing their end of the job document it.
You can still be kind without being weak. Stand up for yourself with a vengeance. Maybe some of these sidewinders will chill out and just do their job. Good luck
Work is a four lettered word.

ftp901's avatar

Well I’m not going to go as far as recording meetings. That would be overkill and create more hostility. Although I was planning on ensuring things were documented, you guys have reminded me that I really need to pay close attention to that and make sure it is done really thoroughly. I have to be particularly careful on this one because the other two are disorganized slackers (the kind that will turn around at the last minute and blame project delays on me).

ftp901's avatar

@zen_ I have thought about that and the only thing I can come up with is that I’m kind of docile at work – I’m tolerant and accepting of whatever comes my way. I just try to do my work without getting involved in the politics like everyone else (because my larger personal goal is to serve the client). Because of that, I think these co-workers may perceive me as weak and think they can behave in these crafty ways without me noticing or calling them out on it. One thing I have to remember with this project is to say no alot and call them out on their behaviour at every opportunity.

If you have another idea though, I’d like to hear it.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Fuggedaboudit!

Jesus says be kind to your enemies… It’s like heaping hot coals on their heads!

Find something, anything at all, even if it’s a stretch, find something to commend them on and give them praise as genuinely as you possibly can. Talk well of them to your superiors too. Compliment them to your superiors in private. This will get back to them and they will adore you for it.

You wouldn’t believe how well this works. If your superior is sensing some of the same things you are, then by complimenting them, you give your superior subtle permission to confide in you some of their issues that he/she is already aware of. Your response is to ask if there is anything you can do to help with the issue and put it right, and also relate that you always try and find some good in people, although you know they aren’t always deserving of it.

This makes you look like a rock star to your superior, and your combative coworkers. And when one of them finally ends up taking your job… mark my words… it will only be for the reason that You have been promoted.

Acting in the way I suggest is exactly the opposite that everyone expects and wants you to react. And nothing could be so affective in setting you apart from the crowd. This, I assure you, will get you noticed more than anything, especially by your superiors.

Cruiser's avatar

Just be as prepared as you possibly can for that meeting. Don’t not react or respond to any innuendo or quips coming your way and just be professional in all your reactions and exchanges.

Once the project is in motion be the first to arrive and the last to leave and do record meeting minutes and especially any disruptive activities of any of the project team members.

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