You’re working with a colleague. You’re on a deadline, you have to be creative and you’re not sure how to get the job done.
You keep suggesting options, and your colleague keeps telling you why your ideas won’t work. You my friend, are saddled with a wet blanket.
Used in improv, the idea of a wet blanket comes from trying to create something with a partner who’s a dead weight. Luckily, I haven’t had to work with any wet blankets lately, but for my dear friend (you know who you are) she can’t seem to get away from her soggy quilt co-worker.
Used in improv, the idea of a wet blanket comes from trying to create something with a partner who’s a dead weight.
Wet blanket colleagues can be especially frustrating if you’re working on a project that requires creativity and a whole lot of problem solving. If you’re working with a wet blanket, don’t expect progress to come easily. How do you turn it around?
- Turn to the internet. Look up best practices for whatever you’re doing and then suggest things in bulk. Be sure to point out how each option fits your objectives so that they don’t get dismissed without proper consideration. This will hopefully turn the conversation towards moving an idea forward instead arguing over whether the idea is valid.
- Try to narrow the field of options. Choose a few of the most viable routes and ask your colleague which one they would prefer from the options on the table. The goal is to start a process of elimination.
- Watch your tone. Don’t let your frustration leak into your tone, you risk shutting down the whole process and starting from square one.
- Ask questions, why is your colleague hesitant? There might be a deeper root problem. The only way to find out is to start having that conversation.
- When all else fails pull someone else in. See if one of your co-workers can weigh in on the decision. Ask them for their opinion and hopefully they will dilute the soggy situation. It’s harder for a wet blanket to be apathetic when other people are watching.
Photo Credit: Isn’t This an Amazing Place?