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Getting information from co-workers

By TechSupport1 ·
How should one deal with a co-worker who gives vague answers? This person is in charge of certain things and when his assistance is required, he will give vague answers. I have told him that he needs to elaborate, but he still continues to be vague. Others have also complained about this at my workplace. If anyone has been in a similar situation, how did you handle it?

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Vauge...

by azul In reply to Getting information from ...

Is this in regard to a technical issue?

I have problems with users not giving detailed informaton about problems that they wanted me to fix.

I give them solutions as vague as their problem or I make them recreate the problem they are having.

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by TechSupport1 In reply to Vauge...

This in regard to a technical issue. I meant when this co-workers assitance is required in resolving the issue.

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Seek enlightenment

by amcol In reply to Getting information from ...

You need to understand where your co-worker is coming from and why he's being vague.

Perhaps he's the type who believes knowledge is power and therefore he hoards his knowledge. In this case you need to figure out how to reassure him that he's not making himself vulnerable by giving away details. And before you ask how to do that, it's up to you depending on the type of person you're dealing with.

Perhaps he's incompetent and is only capable of giving vague answers. Get your manager involved, if he/she isn't already, and in a professsional fashion identify that there's a problem and request intervention.

Perhaps his communication skills are lacking. This may be his only way of communicating. You need to find a way to get him to accept some kind of training.

Perhaps he's egotistical and his intellectual superiority compels him to be vague because he smugly believes it's your job to understand him, not his job to make you understand. In this case you need to meet him on common ground, showing him you're just as (if not more than) intellectually gifted.

The overall point I'm making is that there are a wide variety of reasons why this person's acting the way he is. Whatever the reason your best approach is to get into his brain and understand why he is the way he is. Don't fight him, work with him. That will help you determine the appropriate course of action.

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ask exacting questions...

by jck In reply to Getting information from ...

and request a direct answer.

Most of all, do it in an email. That way, you can show you tried to get answers.

After he doesn't answer sufficiently, either go around him or to another source for info. Don't let his lack of information cause you to have issues doing your job.

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Thank You

by TechSupport1 In reply to ask exacting questions...

I want to say thank you to everyone who posted. I picked up some good tips

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Beat it out of him!

by maxwell edison In reply to Getting information from ...

.
Pummel him with punches until he gives-in. That usually works for me.

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Typical uncultured colonial...

by neilb@uk In reply to Beat it out of him!

Over here, we prefer the more subtle approach of psychological methods; spiders, kidnap the family, pet's head in the bed, etc.

Everyone has a Room 101.

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