Question: I’m having difficulty working with another designer in our studio. We are very different people and have a lot of trouble seeing eye-to-eye. Is there a way to deal with this without it affecting our professional relationship? – Jonah, 28
Answer: It was that Friday afternoon studio Spotify session, wasn’t it? Or the 1kg steak lunchtime challenge suggestion? It just didn’t pan out so well. Steve is vegetarian, you know.
There will always be different characters on the cutting room floor but that doesn’t mean you need to share a love of craft beer or Megadeath. When it comes to working relationships, you’re not looking for a new BFF, you’re looking for someone who gives a shit about design. To try and pinpoint what’s going wrong, start by asking yourself some questions. Am I communicating clearly enough? Is my tone respectful and do I listen intently to what my colleague is saying? Are my comments constructive and is my tone engaging or defensive? Am I facilitating group exchange or being antisocial in my behaviour?
Of course, not all the problems are yours. Maybe Steve is lazy and doesn’t respect your work ethic or approach to problem solving. If this is happening, try not to take it personally. You’re there to make good work and be efficient. How can you achieve this without getting too caught up in Steve’s dependence on texting and social media? Do what you can to address the problem. Be proactive about fixing it.
In the meantime, remember that a healthy workplace is important for morale, but you can only do so much. It takes two to do the typeset tango, after all.
Dizzee Askall will be delivering a weekly lowdown on your design-related dilemmas. If you’re in need of advice or answers, send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org