Can you think back to working in groups in high school or college? What’s the first thing that came to mind?
I remember dropping out of a whole department in college (Education) because all the work was collaborative. What this translated into was me doing all the work in small groups and everyone in my group getting an A. After the third time this happened and I went to the professors (who were no help), I decided I’d rather go back and get my teacher’s certificate an alternate way than do one more group project.
With this in mind…today we’re talking about how to deal when people let you down.
Listen to Episode 73 – How to Deal When People Let You Down
How to Deal When People Let You Down
Though working with people today doesn’t look like group projects, it’s filled with other issues you likely WILL encounter. It’s not if you’ll deal with these things, but WHEN.
Here are some of the common ways that you may experience friction with other people:
- People stealing or being overly “inspired” by your work
- People poaching your group members or audience
- People criticizing you publicly (or even to small groups, semi-publicly)
- People generally letting you down or breaking your trust
- Contractors taking your money but not doing the work
When any of these come your way, it can be really hard not to lose your cool. And sometimes it’s hard to know if you should do something or not. And if so, WHAT. Here are some tips for dealing with these kinds of situations when you find yourself in them.
REMEMBER YOUR PATH.
This will be kind of a bookend. Remember this at the start and remember this at the end. You have to keep your goal in mind. YOUR path. Not someone else’s. Not what someone else is doing to block your way. Singular focus. On YOU.
GIVE YOURSELF SOME BREATHING TIME.
Before you decide the next steps, give it 24 hours. Whatever the issue, if you can let it breathe (sometimes you may not be able to wait). You need to let the emotions die down. Then look at the situation with fresh eyes. This will especially help with the next one…
Remember that you are representing yourself and your brand. Take the emotion out, but be firm about the facts. Don’t let someone else’s actions affect how you represent yourself publicly.
THAT INCLUDES VAGUEBOOKING.
I would also recommend NOT posting vague statuses about these conflicts. It gets people talking and asking questions and buzzing around your business. Best not to mention it at all unless there is some reasons it has to be public. Hinting stirs the pot. Don’t stir the pot.
ONLY TALK ABOUT IT WHEN NECESSARY.
You will likely NEED to talk to someone about this. Maybe to vent, but maybe also a fresh set of eyes to look from another perspective. Find a few sets of eyes that you trust. Let them help you see the situation from an outside, unemotional view.
TAKE ACTION IF NEEDED.
In some situations you need to just let it go. An example might be if you think someone who’s on your list and in your group has been a little TOO strongly influenced by your content. But there is no definitive proof. Let it go. Take note, though, as a pattern may require a different action. If someone takes an image without permission and posts it on their site, THAT requires action. First, an email. Later, perhaps, if nothing changes, you may consider stronger or legal action.
ALWAYS HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY.
I loved this advice from Alice Chase at Blog Elevated when she spoke about successful collaborations. She said you should always plan ahead and have a exit strategy. Not because you expect things to go wrong, but because you’re a realist. Sometimes things change. If you have a plan for this, it will help you to extricate yourself if needed.
DON’T LOSE SIGHT OF YOUR GOALS.
Bookending! Remember your path. Your focus. Stop looking at the other people and what they are doing and what they’ve done to you. Do YOUR thing. YOUR way. Don’t let other people stop you.
I feel like this was a bit of a Debbie Downer post. I’ll do a part two with actual HELPFUL ideas for collaborations, just to show that working with people isn’t ALL bad. The internet can be a wonderful place and I know that I personally didn’t start to really grow until I connected with other people, locally and online.
Have you had any great (or terrible) experiences working with other people? Share in the comments!