I like my job. I work hard and fast. I want to get ahead.
This irritates two of my coworkers. When I pass their desks, I overhear them making comments like, “Don’t get in the way of the speed demon.” I don’t understand why they resent the fact that I work fast. I’m not doing it to make them look bad. I pretend I don’t hear their comments.
Although I’m the youngest in the department, I thought doing a good job would be my route to a promotion to team lead. Two months ago, my supervisor told me that I was a front runner for the next opportunity since our current team lead is planning to move out of state in two months.
This morning, I heard through the grapevine that my supervisor is uneasy about promoting me because these coworkers dislike me, and team leads need have to have good relationships with coworkers. I plan to go talk to my supervisor about this. What should I say?
If you go to your supervisor with this issue as a problem, you present him with an unresolved problem. If you instead try to solve it or come to him with a potential solution, you increase your chance of gaining the promotion you seek.
Start by learning what you’re up against. Do you irritate your coworkers with your speed or do they snipe at you because they dislike you for another reason? Do you threaten them with your youth or brains? Could part of the problem be you act superior because you speed through projects and thus infuriate coworkers who work more slowly?
In short, you need more information which these two coworkers possess. The next time you hear a comment, stop dead in your tracks and ask, “OK, what am I doing that irritates you? Just tell me, so I can fix it.”
The good news, you have a month to figure this out as your current team lead is in place for the next two months. Also, you’re learning two valuable lessons. First, while pretending to not hear comments works temporarily, it doesn’t resolve anything. Second, it takes good relationships with coworkers as well as hard work to get ahead.
Finally, if you try to diplomatically figure out and resolve this problem, when you present the situation to your supervisor, he may realize the problem isn’t with you, but lies with your coworkers – and thus it is his issue to solve.