How to handle being frozen-out by colleagues

If you are doing your best to build real influence at work—by serving others and adding real value—the same cannot always be said of the people with whom you work. This doesn’t necessarily mean your colleagues are ill-intentioned jerks. Well-meaning people fall into the trap of false influence or the quid pro quo all the time.

But if you’re someone committed to establishing a sterling reputation, sometimes you might feel in a bit of a bind. How do you address someone else’s bad behavior without damaging your working relationship?

The freeze-out

There are people who will take every workplace decision personally, no matter what you do (or how correct the decision proves to be). Disagreements lead to the freeze-out: the slighted colleague makes it clear, one way or another, they are unhappy with you. Of course, they usually take a more passive-aggressive approach.

How does Gayle successfully handle the freeze-out? With real-influence thinking. “You have to meet their meanness with service,” says Gayle. “If someone is trying to coerce me or punish me, I’m just going to show them that I’m here to do my job for them and everyone else, as best as I possibly can. It has nothing to do with their willingness to help me. I’m still going to do my job.”

She continues, “If someone is really holding out on me, then I’m going to go to somebody else, of course. But I’ll still be right there for the holdouts when they need me, if and only if what they need from me is the right business decision at that time. In which case, I might even try harder to deliver for them, just to show them what professionalism looks like.”

Want to read more? Check out Bruce Tulgan’s book — The Art of Being Indispensable at Work


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