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About my job: I work as a System Engineer in an international company. In addition to the usual engineering stuff I am responsible for a few applications which I develop. In the 1 1/2 Years I have been in this position the state of the art has improved in terms of documentation, stability and features.

Today in a meeting with my manager I was told that my communication with coworkers is lacking. Unfortunately he was not willing to give me an example to avoid exposing the people who gave that feedback.

I am a pretty introverted person, I like to work independently and try to enable my coworkers to do the same.

If something happens a few thousand users are impacted and by default at least half the department is involved including my direct superior. In these cases it´s basically impossible to not communicate... When I get assignments or feature requests I get the work done in the requested time frame and communicate possible delays and problems to the people that need to know. When I come across information that I recognize as having an impact on the work of my coworkers I let them know. In general I felt my communication was sufficient and did not get feedback that suggested otherwise until now.

Long story short: what amount of communication do you expect from your coworkers and do you have any general tips on what one should pay attention to if he is looking to improve his communication with his coworkers?

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    Your boss is a fairly bad communicator himself. He can't expect you to improve when you don't know what to improve. He needs to find a way to generalize what is needed. Do you need to speak up in meetings, are your communications occasionally later than people would like, do they not understand the content? What? – HLGEM Dec 22 '16 at 19:36
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    He did not even say if it is listening, or talking, or initiating. He should provide more guidance. – paparazzo Dec 22 '16 at 21:04
  • @HLGEM Thanks for your comment. If I have something to add in meetings I normally do so. Me being late with communication might have happened once or twice but is definitely not a regular thing. I will try to get some specifics out of my manager and update the question accordingly. – Paul Dec 23 '16 at 8:54
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There's no point generalizing, as there's a million possible scenarios and situations that could arise.

Sit down with your manager and have him or her explain to you exactly what is expected of you. Outline that you are an introverted person, and need to understand exactly what level of "communication" is expected of you. If they don't guide you, you're simply being set up to fail.

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    And don't forget that their is verbal communication and non-verbal communication. You say you're happy to pass on info to your colleagues, etc., but if you have closed body language, an angry expression, or you don't make eye contact, then your colleagues will be uncomfortable approaching you. – John Feltz Dec 22 '16 at 20:26
  • Thanks for the answer, I will try to get some more information. @JohnFeltz I don't think that's the case (looking angry and not making eye contact) – Paul Dec 23 '16 at 8:39
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Either you are not doing something that you should be doing or you're already doing it but not the way they like it.

You have to go back to your manager, tell them what you are already doing and ask them what it is that your co-workers would like you to do. Because at this point, you have no way of knowing if it's something that you're doing and they don't like it or it's something that you should be doing but are not doing.

I am a pretty introverted person, I like to work independently and try to enable my coworkers to do the same.

Maybe your co-workers work as part of a team and they don't care for your attempts to make them work the way you do. I know I wouldn't put up with it or you tried to do this to my team. You don't get to tell us how to work together. DON'T assume anything about us and how we work together.

In general I felt my communication was sufficient and did not get feedback that suggested otherwise until now.

It's not what you feel that matters. If you think that the problem is the amount of communication, you're probably wrong about that. The issue is probably WHAT you are communicating or not communicating and HOW you go about communicating. If they think that you are insufficiently proactive about some communications, that counts as you lacking communication. The only thing that's definite is that they expect you to take the initiative and resolve the communications issue. I am getting the impression is that you're not communicating unless something happens - and that something is usually unwelcome news.

  • Thanks for your feedback. I am not trying to make my co-workers do anything, what I meant was that I am trying to provide them the information necessary to work independently. I will try to get some specifics out of my manager. – Paul Dec 23 '16 at 8:44

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