I like to work quickly, stopping periodically to assess where I am. When an idea hits, I’ll run with it and see where it goes. On the other hand, my colleague prefers to work with a plan at all times.

Our boss likes to work late into the night and will call you directly if he needs something. His counterpart in the other branch is more of a morning person, arriving at the office at 6am, and prefers daily check-in meetings. He needs to be aware of everything at all times.

The head of our team is an extensive emailer, and she gets irritated when we ask for clarification. Our office manager, however, prefers phone calls to emails, text, or Slack. The new employee who’s in the office twice a week is still trying to figure out processes.

I’ve been assigned to help the new guy navigate this minefield.

The problem with getting anything done is that you may spend more time sorting out the best way to communicate with someone than figuring out how to solve your problem. Because of the different communication styles and work style differences, people have developed workarounds to the published office processes. This situation sets up a conflict between people at different levels in the company.

Making your way through this environment requires a lot of energy and patience. The question is, how can you make your way through this environment without getting frustrated and still get things done? A lot of people have learned to just ignore what is going on around them.

When faced with uncertainty and chaos, people will often retreat into a state of denial. But when you are part of the problem, it is hard to ignore your own role in creating it.

Here’s what I told the new employee how to approach this situation:

  • Be adaptable: Learn the preferred communication styles of your colleagues and adjust your approach accordingly.
  • Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or help from your co-workers, especially when you’re new to the team.
  • Stay organized: Keep track of tasks, deadlines, and important information to help manage your workload and expectations.
  • Build relationships: Establish connections with your colleagues and develop a network of go-to people for support and advice.
  • Stay positive: Maintain a positive attitude and be patient as you navigate the different work styles and personalities in the office.
  • Learn from others: Observe how your co-workers handle communication and workflow challenges, and apply those strategies to your own work.
  • Be proactive: Take the initiative to improve communication and collaboration within the team, and share your ideas for streamlining processes.

The new employee was surprised to learn that I had been surviving here for a few years. And the previous office was not too much different.

Welcome to office life!

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