Business Practice: Friction with a new colleague

How should you contend with a new coworker's unexpected hostility?

Credit: Joey Guidone

Jul 26, 2018

Business Practice is a collaboration between Chicago Booth Review and Chicago Booth’s Harry L. Davis Center for Leadership. Tell us how you’d deal with the situation below; once you submit your answer, you’ll be able to read and evaluate other readers’ answers, and they’ll be able to read and evaluate yours. Shortly after we stop accepting new answers, we’ll post an analysis of the results by Chicago Booth professor of behavioral science George Wu, and if you like, we will follow up with a personalized email explaining how other readers responded to your answer. Check out analysis of past Business Practice scenarios here.

Recently you joined a small software company in an engineering role. At your first all-staff meeting, Tom, a business-development associate, shares feedback from the company’s largest client, as well as an idea for a product enhancement based on the client’s needs. You ask several questions (you’re still learning the ropes) about how the enhancement might work, whether other customers have similar needs, and what the impact of the enhancement would be on other features of the software.  

Afterward, Tom emails you: “What were you trying to do out there? I don’t know how it worked at your last job, but here you don’t make friends by wrecking other people’s presentations in front of senior staff. I’ll stop by your office after my next meeting to discuss.” You are caught off guard. How do you respond to Tom when he arrives?

This Business Practice scenario is now closed to new responses. Thank you to everyone who offered their insights and helped evaluate answers. Check back soon for George Wu's analysis of the answers we received!