I have a co-worker who communicates very little during meetings. She is very talkative and outgoing in other situations outside the scheduled meetings.

My supervisors keeps asking the two of us to work together on various projects. During these meetings, the co-workers just gets started on the project immediately on her computer, not discussing anything before we start. When I stop to discuss and try to coordinate some efforts, she keeps going. When a third member was recently added to our team, he became quite agitated after he tried for 30 minutes to exchange ideas and resources before starting, but she just ignored him and kept on typing and doing everything on her own. She submits the finished work entirely on her own, without even running it by me, though is should be a shared work, will at least stop to answer my questions about what she is doing, but it is difficult to get her to discuss much else. Her resulting work is rushed and ignores the criticisms the supervisor made on previous work.

Can there be some cultural explanation, as she this is a US workplace, but she is a foreigner from the Philippines?

How do I address a co-worker not willing to take part in meetings? Neither of us are assigned as a leader. The supervisor is never around during the meetings, or fails to pay attention.

  • 2
    Can there be some cultural explanation? - which are the other cultures involved? Where does this happen?
    – virolino
    Nov 5, 2019 at 5:55
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    Have you told your boss that this is happening? If not, do so. If you have, what was said?
    – Mawg
    Nov 5, 2019 at 7:08
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    "She submits the finished work entirely on her own" I am a little confused by this. You do not do anything? She ignores your part? Or she only submitts her part of the project? In the latter case you did managed to get some devision of work discussed correct?
    – user180146
    Nov 5, 2019 at 7:26
  • 1
    What kind of work is this? Software development? Something else? It's clear that basic process is missing in the workflow here, but it's difficult to suggest that process without any context.
    – user44108
    Nov 5, 2019 at 7:49
  • 1
    This is a school setting, so work includes creating shared tests, planning family activities, curriculum for field trips, etc.
    – Village
    Nov 5, 2019 at 11:33

2 Answers 2


I'm not aware of any culture where it's appropriate to repeatedly ignore colleagues, despite their best efforts to communicate.

The supervisor is never around during the meetings, or fails to pay attention.

Then bring it to his attention.

Bob, I've repeatedly tried to engage with Sandra during these meetings so we can collaborate and work together, but it doesn't seem to be working. Sandra simply opens her laptop, does her own thing, then leaves, ignoring anything either of us say, refusing to participate in any discussions, and refusing to let us see any of her code. It's incredibly frustrating. What do you suggest?

Your boss may choose to talk with Sandra, scrap the meetings, replace Sandra in these meetings with someone else, etc. - but at that point, you've made it his problem.


You seem to do everything in your power to force her to cooperate, which she refuses actively (or rather passively-aggressively).
A third co-worker has also experienced this lack of cooperation and in team meetings, you say she is, again, non-cooperative.

Culture difference or not, when you go into a job which requires team-play you adjust yourself to the job and you play with the team, not simply being on the field with the rest of them, doing your own thing.

Seems to me you, the other colleague, whomever in your team that is being hurt, not in the "hurt feelings" way, but in the "bosses' opinion of me is being badly influenced by her lack of team-play" way (though hurt feelings are just as valid a reason as any!) should step to your, and I assume her, manager, spill the beans and... well, it's up to the manager to decide what to do, just so long as the issue is resolved (which could be either making her start cooperating, moving her away from the team, dismissing her entirely. Not really your concern, so long as the problem is gone).

And don't feel too bad with yourself once you do it.
You gave her, according to you, ample chances to stop being a jerk.
For whatever reason, cultural or other, she is clearly not a good fit with your team (and maybe even the entire company).

And I'd do it sooner rather than later before your career starts suffering unrecoverable damage (due to her submitting half-assed work, disregarding previous criticism, etc., in lieu of what should be your cooperated effort).

Not all jerks are bullies.


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