Career Woman

You’ve got this: My co-worker hates correction

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Dr Froswa’ Booker-Drew answers your questions, putting her years of experience and practice into the goal of solving those knotty problems that beset us, and assuring us: ‘you’ve got this’. If you’d like Froswa’ to look at your particular problem, email it to [email protected].

Question:  We’ve got a new person in a role, and he’s fantastic in very many ways. However, his written communication skills are really bad — and I mean really bad — but he doesn’t take well to having his stuff corrected or edited. How can I get him to see that he needs help in this area, and accept that help? R.

Dear R:

It’s really challenging when someone is not aware of their blind spots.  It’s more difficult when the person refuses correction and direction.  I think this might be a symptom of a greater issue that might arise later.  For now, the work is great—I hope it continues–but from the limited information provided, I wonder if this person has issues with being corrected.  You may find down the road that this was the appearance of a red flag.  It could be the person is accustomed to being right.  So how do you help someone who doesn’t take correction well?  Coaching is key. I think he’s taking it personally as if it is an attack on who he is—if he’s new, he wants to impress–and it will be important to help him distinguish.  This person must understand that this doesn’t mean that his work is bad which maybe the way he’s interpreting the correction of his work.  I think it is a matter of creating a process so that the person doesn’t feel targeted, but it is more about policy. Some initial thoughts to be considered:

  1. Everyone’s work goes through a process of proofreading. It is standard because we are not only representing the company, we want to make sure that everyone’s work is executed in a spirit of excellence.  Our work is a reflection of the organization and when you (the individual) shines, we all do.
  2. Prior to submitting your work, all content should first go through Grammarly to detect any errors.
  3. The supervisor (whomever) has the final say.

I am an author with a PhD and yet, my work is critiqued by others.  I realize that in various industries, the style or format is different.  There are nuances that exist.  I am discovering that there are generational issues even with grammar.  I was reared to place a comma after a series of items like this:  When it comes to writing, R’s co-worker doesn’t like correction, guidance, and has a problem when others point out this challenge. My millennial co-workers will remove the comma before the and.  Those of us who are 45 years old and above find this to be irritating.  It’s not a battle I’m willing to fight and if the job gets done, I’m good.   I understand that even within my organization, there are polices around material for public consumption and I abide by them regardless of what I think or feel (which is more about our egos being bruised, if we are honest).

I think when you place parameters and expectations to your co-worker and the team about this matter, this will help with future issues.  He needs to understand that you aren’t picking on him, it is the process that must be adhered to.  You. Got. This, R.

About Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew

Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew is a Partnership Broker. Relational Leadership Junkie. Connector. Author/Speaker/Trainer. Co-Founder, HERitage Giving Circle. She been quoted and profiled in Forbes, Ozy, Bustle, Huffington Post and other media outlets around the world. In addition, she has been asked to speak on a variety of topics such as social capital and networking, leadership, diversity, and community development to national and international audiences. This included serving as a workshop presenter at the United Nations in 2013 on the Access to Power. One of the most impactful life events for her was being a part of the documentary, Friendly Captivity, a film that followed a cast of 7 women from Dallas to India. Honors for her work include: Semi-finalist for the SMU TEDx in 2012, 2012 Outstanding African American Alumni Award from the University of Texas at Arlington, 2009 Woman of the Year Award by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Diversity Ambassador for the American Red Cross. Graduating with a PhD from Antioch University in Leadership and Change, she also attended the Jean Baker Miller Institute at Wellesley for training in Relational Cultural Theory and completed facilitator training on Immunity to Change. She has also completed training through UNICEF on Equity Based Evaluations, and is the author of 2 workbooks for women, Ready for a Revolution: 30 Days to Jolt Your Life and Rules of Engagement: Making Connections Last as well as a writer for several publications around the globe.

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