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I work in development and I shared my code for help in internal messaging channel with 100 developers and one of my colleagues said he is "worried about my way of working/code". He has made a similar comment before.

As this was the second time I had to mention it to the manager who said he will talk with him. The reason I don't like receiving such comments is I get anxiety attacks. Sure I might not be as good as my colleague but he has no right to tell me he is worried about my way of working in front of 100 developers.

Now the colleague has told me that the manager mentioned this to him, and to be fair, he is like that. (For example I should take everything he says with a pinch of salt.)

How does one respond to this situation?

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    Did you speak with the colleague about this before reaching out to your manager?
    – sf02
    Apr 7, 2022 at 12:56
  • @sf02 nope I didn't
    – localhost
    Apr 7, 2022 at 12:59
  • are you blunt or is the other person blunt? (he is like that e.g. blunt or I am blunt)
    – depperm
    Apr 7, 2022 at 13:17
  • is this a colleague you work with (I'm assuming you have smaller teams than 100) or another team at the compay?
    – depperm
    Apr 7, 2022 at 13:19
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    I have attempted to clean up the question. I found it a bit confusing to begin with, but I am sorry if I have changed the intended meaning. Apr 7, 2022 at 14:13

4 Answers 4

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You want to know "How does one respond to this situation?", the situation being comments such as "worried about my way of working/code"

You can tell him to be more specific. Ask him what exactly does he mean by his comment? If the response to that is again vague, ask again for actionable points, and keep asking until he backs off or tells something that makes sense.

It would bring out constructive points for you to work on at best. He would think twice before giving out such vague statements in the future in case he's being rude by habit, as he would have to justify what he wants from you and detail it out.

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It is important to keep in mind that everyone has a different personality; they express themselves and interpret others differently. You see the comments as blunt, but they may not have been intended that way. You indicate that you have anxieties. Other people don't. If the person is truly trying to degrade you in front of others, that's a problem. Any comments, even negative comments, should be about the work, not the person that created it.

I worked on a development team where we instituted rigorous peer reviews on every work product that was produced. We had an expression: "You have to check your ego at the door." People are going to say positive and negative things about your work products and after investing time and energy creating something, it can be painful when others decide to throw it away. It may be that you've generated something that no longer fits within a set of new design parameters or maybe you've generated something that exposes the need to shift the design parameters.

A well run development team will focus on the work being done, not the people doing it.

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  • Other people don't maybe this is grammar, but other people DO/CAN have anxiety
    – depperm
    Apr 7, 2022 at 14:01
  • question now is how do I respond to him
    – localhost
    Apr 7, 2022 at 14:16
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    @localhost if you would like to learn more about what this person thinks you could ask what he meant by the comment. Otherwise, why do you feel the need to respond? Not everything merits a response.
    – Seth R
    Apr 7, 2022 at 15:26
  • @depperm. My apologies, you are correct. "Some" other people don't have these anxieties.
    – djhallx
    Apr 7, 2022 at 17:16
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    @localhost - Here's the thing: If it is a senior developer that is being critical of your work, find out why. Find out what it is about your work that doesn't meet their standards. Maybe they have a legitimate reason for being critical of your work. If they are just being obnoxious, that's a different problem, but you have to figure out which it is. And another thing... Anxieties are real, I get it, but they are also optional. People have the ability to learn to get past them. Learn to fail. Learn to take legitimate criticism. Build up the courage to thrive.
    – djhallx
    Apr 7, 2022 at 17:39
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Like djhallx mentioned, it is worth considering that your colleague might not think of his comment as too blunt, and probably does not understand the way it makes you feel. I think the best next step is to talk to him about it. Do not approach him aggressively - simply explain how his comments make you feel and work with him to help him understand what kind of comments would be more constructive in the future. At the very least, he should be willing to make these comments to you privately in the future, rather than in front of other colleagues. If he isn't willing to be any less blunt, that is his prerogative and you will have to work on accepting harsher criticism without taking it personally.

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I am providing a second answer to this question because I am slightly smarter now that I was before. The book "Culture Maps" by Erin Meyer (https://erinmeyer.com/books/the-culture-map/) may have insights into the answer you are looking for. You did not mention the cultures of the people involved and that plays a huge role in how people from each culture speak and listen to others. Some cultures are very direct with criticism and that can sound harsh to people from other cultures but not to people of the same culture. Check out the book.

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