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Recently communication with my coworker had been a bit weird.

Some background here.

He came to me a few weeks ago and expressed concerns that an important goal of his team was not progressing and that I and my peers should give it some priority. He seemed to be stressed about it. I explained that the task was actually blocked by another team and in fact I had been the one to push it forward. I also tried to reassure him by sharing the concrete steps that team was taking. He seemed to be relieved, smiled, said great and left. I thought we were good.

However, only a few days later he raised the same issue again in a group meeting with my peers without any acknowledgement of our previous conversation or specific action requests.

It made me feel really frustrated for a few reasons:

First, I was not sure how our conversation had landed with him. Was he not happy about the next steps I had scoped out? Did he need more support from my peers? Did he not trust me?

Second, I had gone extra miles to support his goal and there had been zero acknowledgement or appreciation.

Lastly, I was surprised to hear that he was misinformed in the first place, as his team member was working directly with me and they should be very much aligned on the progress, blockers and next steps. It made me think whether there is a process issue. I thought about possible reasons and suggested two solutions to him but none was taken.

Question: How do I ask him what his true concerns/requests are without sounding too pushy?

  • could he simply have been "escalating" the situation to somebody who could motivate the other blocking team? – WendyG Sep 24 '18 at 10:29
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Just have a one-on-one with your co-worker and ask him if your proposed ideas were not enough (as a gentle reminder that the issues have been resolved). Stress can also make people forget stuff and act strange.

Let him tell you how he feels and what he needs too, so you both are on the same page if you missed to address a point that he feels is important.

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