Here you go again for another day in telework mode. And for probably for the 50th time in four months, you enter your username along with the videoconference’s code.
Your partner gently closes the door to take the children to the water games in the park.
Phew! To smoothly switch your cape from Mom mode to Employee mode, you choose to stay muted without activating the camera. While reviewing your notes, you notice that a couple of colleagues are already connected and chatting. You hear your name. It’s not good … The quality of your work is being criticized.
Shocked, you suddenly want to turn on the camera and the mic, to shout: “What? Pardon me?”
Hold on to your current status. Stay put. Breathe. Don’t impulsively jump in the conversation. Stay calm. Avoid confronting and retaliating as others join in the meeting.
This situation deserves consideration. Breathe. You currently have the benefit of being “invisible”.
- Do not activate the “Record” function. Even if it is tempting, it is not honourable to record without informing beforehand. In addition, a notice will indicate that you are recording.
- Announce yourself and participate according to your usual habits. “Hello!” Breathe.
- As soon as possible, faithfully document what you heard.
- If necessary, apologize for a few minutes to refresh yourself.
- After the videoconference, congratulate yourself for staying calm.
- With courage and as objectively as possible, reread the criticism.
- Get feedback on your sensitivity by presenting your writings to a few trusted friends.
- If after this validation you recognize that you overreacted, keep calm and carry on as if you overheard nothing.
- If all agree that the criticism could have an impact on your career, you have two options: plan to improve or confront the reality by conversing. For the second option; separately invite each colleague for a meeting. Or, take the opportunity to discuss when alone, with either one of them. Present the situation by stating your intention for a positive collaboration. Clarify the expected results by asking questions. Summarize what is desired. Adjust your behaviours and take the time to validate future contributions by regularly asking for feedback.
What I have to say is difficult. My intention is for a positive collaboration of trust. During our last videoconference, I overheard you and Ms. Soandso talking about my work. I know that our timelines are tight and that things are going really fast these days. If you have any comments, I am always available to discuss desired improvements. “
If the criticism is from your boss, it might be time to update your resume to look at new horizons. It will be very difficult to converse without confronting comments related to the credibility as well as the confidence which is placed in you. These perceptions will affect possible promotions and perspectives.
If you overhear the criticism when others believe that you are out of sight, while you are physically there in person, come forward and go greet. Depending on the comments and circumstances, be strategic based on the above recommendations.
Finally, as difficult as it is to hear negative comments about yourself, remember that it is not you the person that is being targeted, it is your performance that others are pointing at. With good will and a plan that can be improved. Don’t take it personally, take if professionally; plan to improve.
Translated from July 14th, 2020 published article on veroniquecloutier.com (c) Julie Blais Comeau