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As my client complained  “I’ve already told him” and he “just doesn’t listen” I was reflecting on the blog I had written earlier on this topic.

She is an “over achiever” delivering more than she promises and feeling drained as an increasing number of tasks are assigned to her.

As we explored what was motivating her behaviours and dissatisfaction we considered whether she might be:

  • unable to ask for help because she was acting as a heroine, self-sufficient or thought it would make her look weak
  • unable to set boundaries because she likes to please others, doesn’t have a body that can say “no” or  identifies with being the problem-solver
  • unable to provide a draft because she is a perfectionist and a draft isn’t good enough
  • inflexible in her approach rather than considering what is “fit for purpose”

Whilst there were some elements of the above, that might be influencing her behaviour, for the most part she did ask for help, she tried different strategies and she did say “no”.

So we explored further why she wasn’t getting the collaboration from her colleagues and the results she wanted.

As she explained how she asked for help it became clear that she was in a mood of resentment. This impacted her tone and could be interpreted by her colleagues as a complaint or criticism. It is unlikely to inspire them to offer assistance and  to feel that she values their contribution.

When she felt frustrated or put upon, she tended to blurt out her requests and comments. She didn’t think about the state her colleagues were in when she spoke to them. For example, if  they were rushing between meetings, worried by personal issues and not focussed on the topic. Consequently they may not even have heard what she was saying.

Her team is made up of people from vary different cultures and nationalities; some more outgoing, some more reserved and several languages are used in communications. So her colleagues may have had a completely different interpretation from what she intended.

We concluded that how, when and where she had conversations with her colleagues mattered. In addition, the words she used mattered.

She is now paying more attention to her moods, what might be going on for her colleagues and practising different ways of speaking with them to improve their engagement and the likelihood of shared success.

What’s your experience? When and how have you found your conversations to be most successful?

If you’d like to have a conversation with me about how you might improve your working relationships and create more commitment to achieve your project goals leave a reply below, call me on London +44 (0) 20 7226 3611 or

Photo source: By Selena Wilke (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons



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