One of the things I apparently still have to learn is how to interact successfully with some of my colleagues. Specifically, how do I handle situations where there is even the slightest hint of conflict?
Now, I'm by no means a confrontational person, but if I disagree with someone or if I have to be the bearer of not-so-pleasant news, I will do so---as politely as I can. (I don't always succeed at the politeness thing, but I try very hard.) The problem I'm dealing with is that my colleagues will avoid any hint of confrontation like the plague. They like to think that we'll always all agree and be happy and "collegial", and if that's not the case then there must be something dreadfully wrong. I have no idea where this comes from, but it sure does make life "interesting".
In the most recent scenario, a colleague asked for my opinion, and then went bizarrely ballistic after I gave him my (completely objective) opinion on the matter. Apparently, he expected me to answer one way (to agree with him), and when I didn't he reacted very poorly--and, to be honest, very immaturely. And this was a really low-stakes thing, and he reacted way out of proportion to my answer. But this is not the first time this has happened: with many of my colleagues, disagreement = personal disapproval and criticism. (To which I can only say, "huh?")
I wish I could understand what it is about my colleagues that make them feel this way. I wish I could convince them that when I disagree with them, it's definitely not a personal thing---that disagreement is healthy and normal. I wish that I didn't feel like I had to bite my tongue and measure my words every time I open my mouth, lest I offend yet another one of my colleagues.
This whole collegiality thing is going to be the death of me!