There are a lot of reasons why patience sometimes isn’t enough. Recently, I had a situation where the person I needed to be working with to make a decision refused for weeks to yield from their position despite ample evidence that their way was not going to work the way we needed it to. This can be with coworkers, partnerships with outside community members or with bosses. Either way, it’s not easy to deal with. My situation still isn’t resolved, although I’m hoping it can end peacefully soon without any hard feelings.
How do you deal with those situations? I ended up asking advice from a coworker who was tangentially involved but has been working at libraries a lot longer than I have and understands the ‘politics’ that can arise for things better than I do. She gave me other avenues to investigate to see if by any stretch what the other person wanted was possible and I tried everything we could think of to make it work without success.
It’s important to understand the other person’s point of view too. We all want to feel excitement and ownership of the things we do and sometimes we don’t see or don’t want to see the potential downfalls of what we’re proposing. Compromise is, of course, always a good way to go. Give a little to get a little, but sometimes compromise isn’t possible, depending on the situation.
So what do you do when you feel like you’re banging your head into a brick wall?
A few things that have helped me include: letting the correspondence (especially if it’s e-mail) sit for upwards of a day to allow yourself a cooler head; calling in reinforcements of some sort if you can get someone to support your position with facts; getting other perspectives on the problem; taking an actual break from work; or working on something that you know will go well for a while and might have an instantaneous feeling of accomplishment. Search for another way to approach the problem. Make sure you’re being as overly helpful as you possibly can be – give every possible avenue of positives and negatives. If you can, use hard facts and data to support your point.
At the same time, doublecheck to make sure you aren’t digging your heels in too. I’ve been guilty of this and I’m sure tried other people’s patience before because of it. There is always a solution, even if sometimes you’re the one who has to give. Do your best!