Overcome a Poor Working Relationship

Rajesh Agarwal

Director of Engineering at Salesforce



How well does the working relationship have to be with your colleagues?

In order to bring in impeccable results, there has to be a great deal of open communication. One of those times when I had to collaborate with a peer from another department, the blame game went on as I felt that they were not bringing in enough results. No one was taking ownership of the task, and I was starting to get frustrated. As a rule of thumb, it was their department, and they were more likely to bring in the results. On top of that, they were also finding faults in the tasks that we were working on. All of that created a catastrophic situation that no one was looking forward to.

Actions taken

Since my frustration was reaching above the roof, I had no choice but to meet with them to come to an agreement due to the lack of results. I allowed them to open up as well, and after the meeting, it turned out that they were frustrated with us. Instead of blaming each other from a heart-to-heart perspective, we shared our views that filled in the gaps. It was an eye-opener as both of us were looking forward to resolving the issues efficiently.

As a result, collectively, we came up with a plan to start addressing the processes. Since then, it has become much more collaborative rather than siloed operations. Instead of being “us vs them,” both set a mindset of bringing positive results. Once the conflict was over, the results followed automatically.

The good part about all of this was that both of us did intend to do good, but what failed us was the dynamics. It seemed like it was not working at all. While I was finding fault in their working style, they had issues with our processes. So, having more empathy, and sharing how I felt about the whole situation, rather than about the person, helped resolve it. My intention was not to make it personal but more professional.

Coming from a more professional space and having a conversation about it, we became more like a team. Followed by that, we connected better by seeing each other as human beings instead of result-driven professionals. A better approach to solve the problem was when our mindsets shifted from “whose job it is,” to “what we could do better together.”

Lessons learned

  • Working in a company would lead to certain kinds of imbalance with colleagues. Sometimes we tend to compromise a little too much, but finding the balance and the time to connect with your colleagues is a great idea.
  • It’s very easy to fall into the trap of a negative cycle, but pausing for a moment to reach out to your peers can change everything.
  • Focus more on the company mission and vision first, which will help you find a way towards the ultimate goal.

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Rajesh Agarwal

Director of Engineering at Salesforce


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