I reached out to the team for some help on a task the other day. They offered to help (not specifically in my team but in another department) and they earnestly got on with the task.

I'm new to this team and so is this eager helping colleague. We're not familiar with each other, communication styles, skills etc. and we are a remote team.

I'm going to own that the brief wasn't good, and I didn't get on the phone with them to discuss it. Instead, a junior colleague wrote a brief (and I assumed they had discussed what was needed).

The product we got back was a very low standard work. In part because of the poor brief (again, I own this) but also the design output is just not up to the standard that I would need to take it to our client.

I gave some feedback - both specifically about the content and with broader context about the aim and priorities. I hoped this would lead to an improved draft. The results have come back just as poor and I'm not in a position to take it to the client, nor do I see the value in more feedback - I just don't think the skills are there and time is tight.

I am willing to put in the extra time to do it again. My question is about managing the relationship with the colleague. They did the work in earnest and to be helpful. Its a new relationship and I don't want to damage it.

Advice? Has anyone faced something similar?

1 Answer 1


Try to have a one-on-one with your coworker. Discuss the problems you both faced. Apologize for the bad brief. Ask for his input about how you can communicate more efficiently in the future (and listen to it!). Focus on how you can improve the situation instead of sheding blame or shuffling guilt around. Hope that he is an equally constructive person.

  • Thanks Hippo, I'm happy to do a review call with the colleague about lessons learned. However, my discomfort is around doing the work again myself and the fallout of that. I anticipate that by not using his contribution he'd unreceptive to a post-game review. Feb 11, 2020 at 22:08
  • @Alwayslearning that's the point were him being a constructive person comes in. if so, he should be able to see that this was the apropriate way out and seek ways to avoid such a situation in the future. if he isn't, the damage has already been done.
    – d_hippo
    Feb 11, 2020 at 22:10
  • Nice - thanks for clarifying. Feb 11, 2020 at 22:15

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