Communication is a weird thing... sometimes it works very well, sometimes it doesn’t at all.
Especially text based or remote communication are two, which appear really hard. Emojis and auch help, but can sometimes be misleading.
On thing though, often communication results in some sort of an reaction.
“Can I have the last slice of Pizza, please?” - Unanswered this would let everyone on the table kind of hang in a strange situation.
“I’m ordering Pizza!” - without appending: “, do you want one as well?”, or me responding “Can I have one too?” - would leave everyone in the room also in a strange situation.
In most of the times we’re able to imply. If you partner doesn’t respond to the question: “Can I have the last slice of Pizza, please?” - s/he is probably fine with it.
I guess, that concept is clear, but maybe with some working colleagues you are just not as familiar as with your partner or your friends. ...and an implied part of the communication gets lost because it wasn’t explicit enough.
A few month back...
The team I was part of was managing multiple projects. Some team members were working on multiple projects, other, like myself, only on one project.
We always send almost the invites, for project meetings, simply to the main email list. Implying that the people who know that they need to be there would just turn up and the others would just take note of it.
Now, there was this new project which one of my team mates was starting up. Let’s call the project: Axolotl-Dashboard.
In the initial phase of the project, more of us were involved, but that’s just for initial tech discussion. Slowly after, I left the Axolotl-Dashboard-Team again. Minding my own work, expecting them to shout if they needed more hands. After all, I had my own little project to take care of.
Weeks go by, I received their planning meeting invites, but for me this wasn’t relevant.
I saw a colleague, who wasn’t part of team Axolotl-Dashboard joining those meetings anyway. Mostly out of interest and to give some advice on AWS.
I’ve also asked my manager: “Hi manager, should I join those Axolotl-Dashboard meetings?”, but he said: “Nah, that’s fine. Join if you want, but it’s not required. Tim is just joining out of interest and helping a little bit with getting AWS up and running.”.
Half a year later...
Tim, who was now supposed to help me out on my project was now for 80% involved into the Axolotl-Dashboard project.
I’m getting criticised for not helping out and only standing in my little project’s bubble. Not enough involvement.
And here I am finding myself:
Where did that go wrong? Should I’ve attended those meetings anyway to get more involved, even when my manager was saying I don’t need to? Did he imply it? Was he not explicit enough?
I don’t know. To my understanding I would have expected that would have been set: “Karl, please attend those meetings, as I want to to work on it as well.” That’s it. Easy.
Sure, looking out and helping out, that’s something I could have done. But I’m also not the guy who runs into a existing project to disturb their work.
Bottom line: If you want something, say something.