6

I work in a medium software company. My manager and many colleagues have told me that I repeat the same thing again and again. I speak too much about issues faced by the team and that I am not confident in what I say or am asked about my own work. They say that I seem to make things complex and confuse them too much. They believe that I tell them extra knowledge about things they don't need.

I know that I have a bad habit to take stress about small things. I want respect of others and want to appear more professional. I am quite worried and upset about this feedback from my peers. My career seems to be messed up!

What changes do I need to make in order to fix everything?

  • Does your manager tell you that you repeat things at the time you say it or later during a one on one meeting with just your manager? – Kennah Dec 10 '15 at 17:52
  • 2
    The title of this question doesn't seem to match the situation you describe. – Lilienthal Dec 10 '15 at 18:44
4

When I meet people with these traits or hear comments about people with these traits, I generally see patterns that can be broken.

First, if you have an idea or a suggestion, say it once. If people don't like it or don't respond, do not repeat it. The big problem here is that if no one responds or does not engage, the speaker thinks that their message was unclear so the speaker tries to clarify it by saying more. However, as a listener, if you're interested you will ask if you did not understand what was said or if you want more information. So speaking more is annoying, not assertive. After speaking, let your listener have time to respond and respect the response. Take silence as, "I'm not interested" if you are unsure.

Second, don't offer to explain anything. Seriously - don't offer explanations even when things are "obviously" not clear to someone. If someone comments, "I don't understand" take it as if they said, "I'm frustrated and needed to say something to express it." If someone asks you very clearly to explain something (like, "Hey, please explain this") then you should probably explain... however, that is still not quite right because...

Third, even when someone asks you a question or wants you to explain something, do this first: confirm that you understand what they are asking. Someone may say, "Hey, can you explain system X to me?" And what they really meant was, "System X has feature Y that operates with feature Z. I know you worked on feature Y, so can you tell me more about feature Y and how it works with feature Z?" People don't always ask perfect questions and might start off wrong. And you don't always hear the question in the way they intended to ask.

So, before you provide any answer, ask if you understood the question first before you try to answer what you thought you heard. The best way to do this is with a technique called "reflection" - you ask back to them what you heard. In this example you might ask, "So you want an overview of all of system X?" This will help them focus on communicating what they need from you. In this example, the response to your question might be, "Well actually, I know you worked on feature Y in system X and that works with feature Z. I need to know more about how feature Y works." Here again, ask something like, "So you want me to explain feature Y?" Because with that question, the speaker may respond, "Oh, I know a lot about feature Y. I really just need to know ..." I hope that example makes the process clear for you.

Some of this might feel awkward or unnatural at first. Go slow and take your time learning it and practicing. After practicing these things you will get better at listening and understanding what people need from you. Also, as you practice you will gain confidence that you are asking the right questions and that your input is valued. Because you will know they are listening and people will ask for your input, instead of you being unsure or not paying noticing their lack of interest.

  • +1 for reflection, especially for an all-encompassing question like that. – Doyle Lewis Dec 11 '15 at 14:05
2
  • Speak less and do more

  • take input from your team and change

  • if your team truly didn't like you, they wouldn't give you any feedback. If you don't follow my first two points, you will soon see how you get little to no feedback on anything. And then your career will be messed up.

You need to be able to take criticism without wigging out. Often people who wig out on little things nervously bring the same things up or bring up too much information because they are nervous. Being a nervous person around a group for 40 hours a week is "heavy". People will tire of it quickly because they are not your counselor or babysitter. I would suggest talking to a close friend about this and asking them for advice (and taking some of their advice).

  • I agree, OP is already getting the advice he needs, but not actioning it. – Kilisi Dec 12 '15 at 4:45
1

I work in a medium software company.

Congratulations,

I am quite worried and upset about this feedback from my peers. My career seems to be messed up!

If that was true, you'd be in meetings with your manager telling you that you're going to need to sort out these problems, as you're not then you must be doing something right. Feedback on a professional level is something you're never exposed to until a job where it's valuable. It can be weird at first to have your bad points, 'pointed out'.

I want respect of others and want to appear more professional.

Don't see feedback as something negative. This doesn't appear to have some as some kind of attack, but advice from colleagues. They respect you enough to want to help you with improving yourself.

My manager and many colleagues have told me that I repeat the same thing again and again. I speak too much about issues faced by the team and that I am not confident in what I say or am asked about my own work. They say that I seem to make things complex and confuse them too much. They believe that I tell them extra knowledge about things they don't need.

Maybe they think you're saying the same thing, but in fact they just are not understanding what you're trying to tell them? This seems to be backed up by the fact they say you make things more complex than they need to be, and confuse them.

I'd suggest maybe not feeling that you need to share all the information you have in your mind at the time, and try and simplify what you do share with whomever asks. I'm presuming this is based around a meeting/team session and not on a 1-2-1 basis when i'd expect to share everything I can with a colleague.

0

What changes do I need to make in order to fix everything.

A quote from "The Hard Things about Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz:

Always err on the side of clarity

Be clear on what is going on, every time you enter a meeting.

When entering a meeting, you need to be clear about why you are having the meeting? and what are the takeaways?

When talking about issues, you need to be clear about what that issue is, is it a road blocker or a dodgeable one, and what steps can be done to solve it.

If you are not clear, then ask doubts. Knowing nothing is better than blurting randomly. Ask the relevant person about things you are unclear at.

0

Don't feel like you need to give immediate answers. Suggest to your coworkers that you take some time to look into the problem and set a time-line to get back with them. If they push for an immediate response, remind them about the negative feedback you've received and emphasize you're working on them and prefer not to commit them at this time. The more desperate they are, the more likely they'll offer to over-look them.

Work on your responses. Limit the points to make initially. If you're asked for more detail, have a few of those ready. As developers, we know we have to deal with the details and edge cases, but many people don't work that way. Give them straight-forward answers. Elaborate when necessary. If you're wrong, seems like this group would let you know. If they're so concerned with the correct answer maybe they'll learn to ask someone else.

0

If I had one recommendation it is to never feel obligated to immediately give a thought or question on something. It sounds as if when given a task or holding a meeting, you start to immediately ask questions or give a thought that sometimes either confuses others or repeating something discussed earlier. Take a minute or two to think it over before you open your mouth. Pretend as if you are asking yourself the question and use what knowledge you learned to attempt to answer the question before you ask it outloud.

Sometimes those questions you have will answer itself in time or you may find them on your own after thinking it over. It will also allow you to ask more direct questions without having to repeat yourself.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.