Peers are a funny lot, or at least it seems so when studying normal workplaces that are filled with ‘em. Recently a BTL practice participant told me a story of one of his peers and how she frequently sends him backhanded compliments via emails that he has a hard time understanding. She offers her perspective on stuff with a passive aggressive bend. He’s not sure how to take it and kinda lets it get him all out of sorts. This happens in every workspace everyday. If this happens to you with some well meaning peers or just some mean ones, here’s the way to handle it.

Call them and talk. Ask them what they meant by “the meeting went well, in spite of you not getting x,y,z quite right.” Glean any and all wisdom from their perspective. If there’s nothing of value from the conversation, nothing is gained. Make a mental note about future run ins with this unproductive peer. If there is something of value, you just netted something from a new perspective. Duly noted. Good.

Here’s the gig. Peers and peeps around your office space are gonna offer perspectives all day long. The best among us, don’t focus energy and attention on changing those whose perspectives are clearly clouded and confused. There is nothing we can do to change a cloudy day, is there? Think of your peers mind similarly when it’s confused. Do not waste energy and effort trying to fix them and refocus their perspective. Lots of peers are passive aggressive and seem to get energy from just stirring stuff up to, well, be the proverbial fly in the ointment. These peers are fighting to prove a point. Changing their perspective is not likely. Let it go. Engage with those peers who are fighting to improve performance. When you talk with them, it’s clear this isn’t personal. Your informed intuition will discern the difference.

Peers with passive aggressive kinda perspectives are usually fighting to prove a point. Let ‘em go. Performance aggressive peers are fighting to improve performance. Allow their perspectives in. Do not let peers perspective pressure you or cause you consternation. Do not engage in email battles in a war that is unwinable. Do not let those not so well meaning peers get under your skin. Engage with those whose perspective is being offered because they want to improve performance, not prove a point.

Life is too short, you know…

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