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Chapter 21. Getting Help from Others, In... > Knowing When You Are in Big Trouble - Pg. 229

Getting Help from Others, Including the Boss 229 When trying to get help from other peers or comanagers, don't push and don't try to get them on your side. Taking sides is the last thing you want unless you want to fight. And this kind of fight tends to make losers of everyone. If the situation with your difficult colleague has become intolerable and must be addressed some- how, then you can look at the mediation process, which we talked about earlier in the book. What you'll need is an experienced mediator who can help both parties identify and clarify the problem and solve it together. There are two ways to do this. If your boss doesn't want to be directly involved, see whether you can get the boss to at least authorize such a process and put some pressure on the difficult colleague to enter into it. That's not perfect, but it can work. Or you can approach the difficult colleague on your own. Here's what you might say: "Jack, it seems like whenever we work together we somehow rub each other the wrong way and end up arguing. I know it's uncomfortable for me, and it's certainly making things difficult for both of us. I have an idea. What do you think about meeting with a mediator to help us unravel this so we can at least work together without being at each other's throats?" You may have to explain the process and identify someone who can play the mediation role. One thing to remember: Mediation is most useful when the investment of time is worth it for both of you. If it's a single minor issue, mediation probably isn't merited. If you've had a long-running feud with a colleague and you have to work together in the future, then it makes much more sense. Where do you find mediators? Your human resources department may be able to help. Or, if you have an employee assistance program (EAP) in place, a counselor may either offer mediation serv- ices directly or be able to suggest someone. Knowing When You Are in Big Trouble What if you can't get support from anywhere? First, answer these questions: Is the issue trivial? Have you overreacted and made a mountain out of a molehill? Is this problem with your colleague really a serious one? Insider Secrets If you're looking for a professional to help you in a mediation situation, you can check your area to see whether there are any experts in Alternate Dispute Resolution techniques. It's called ADR for short and is becoming more available and more common. Outside mediators bring a lot to the table. They are objective and unin- volved, have highly developed facilitation skills that most of us lack, and don't have any baggage that can interfere with finding a good solution. If it is a serious issue and you haven't overreacted, then you have to face facts. For whatever reason, you are in a situation where you lack the support and the supporting cast you need to do a good job. Maybe your boss thinks you're a troublemaker or incompetent, or just doesn't like you.