We have all been in the situation where a colleague has given input or unwelcome feedback on your work (or asked to review your work) without you asking… but how do you handle it?
Having had input from a senior colleague on another team recently, I have been struggling with this. This colleague doesn’t have the experience or knowledge and the input isn’t relevant or useful. However as she is senior to me, how do I tell her this? She is pushy and doesn’t listen at the best of times..
So my first port of call was Google. Not helpful really as I was looking for practical advice. So I called a colleague and she gave me some great nuggets which go beyond just this scenario..
A) Politely tell her “thanks for the input“. And don’t use it. Consider it input and nothing else. That may be the end of it, but if she comes back and says “why didn’t you include my comments?“, and starts to get pushy then
1. Respond with “I considered all the feedback and input and incorporated where it made sense strategically. Thanks again though for your input“.
2. Who owns the program? If its not you, ensure you have buy in from the program owner, so you can back up your argument by telling them that this was approved by the program owner and copy that person in. Or, if you own the program, talk to your boss off the record in case this does escalate and they can support your decision. So you essentially shift the responsibility to someone else and let them fight the fight.
But she also came up with another nugget which is a biggie.
B) You don’t need to respond to everybody’s emails or questions.
Wait..! What…? I don’t!!? I always do.. Having been shouted at, and having had perceived
“issues” escalated in the past, I always felt I should respond to everything to nip possible escalations in the bud. But that was years ago, what happens nowadays if I don’t respond?
This one I might try! Key thing here is to ensure you respond to important people. In my example, the person in question thinks they are important but really they aren’t, and aren’t even respected that much in the company. Too late for me to try this though.
So I am trying A. And keeping B in my back pocket for next time. Wish me luck!