3 signs your procurement colleagues secretly hate you

Are you coworkers genuinely busy and can’t get back to you or do they secretly despise you and deliberately undermine your endeavours?

We decided to investigate!

3 signs your procurement colleagues secretly hate you

In procurement, we like to think we’re generally nice people. Sure, we might be narcissists, and we may occasionally come across the odd backstabbing coworker, but by and large we mean well and do well in our jobs which, in turn, means that our colleagues generally like and respect us. 

But what happens when they don’t?

And even worse, what happens when they don’t and you don’t even know it? 

Concerningly, due to the proliferation of remote work due to the pandemic (and the fact that many of us now have flexible working arrangements), it can be even harder to know if our colleagues secretly hate us.

And if they do, there can certainly be consequences. From undermining our hard work, to flat out bad-mouthing us to our stakeholders (or worse, managers or executive leaders), no one wants procurement colleagues who secretly hate them. 

How do you tell, though? Despite what they might say or do (remotely or otherwise), here are four telltale signs that your colleagues aren’t your biggest fans: 

1. Everything you ask them to do is ‘too hard’ 

Picture this. You’re looking for a supplier for your category and great news, one of your procurement colleagues has worked with them before at a previous organisation.

Getting some essential information straight from the horse’s mouth would be invaluable, but it just seems impossible for you to get that information from your colleague.

They might say ‘sure thing’, then a week later, you’ve heard nothing. You follow up to try and organise a time to meet and discuss, but they’re suddenly ‘snowed under’. 

You then ask for summary information via email, but then they ghost you. 

If someone is treating you like this, there’s a chance they simply are extremely busy. But there’s also a chance they don’t respect you, so they are deliberately deprioritising things you need. 

2. They only ever email you as if to create some kind of ‘paper trail’ 

As inherent risk managers, procurement professionals know all too well the importance of documenting absolutely everything.

We do this especially when we’re communicating with suppliers, because we know that the information they provide us is critical, and also that we may need to look back on it one day if things go awry. 

So isn’t it just a bit weird when a colleague has the same insistence on email? 

In pandemic times, digital communication skyrocketed, especially using platforms such as Slack, Microsoft Teams or Google Chat.

Phone calls also exponentially increased as people spent little or no time in each other’s presence. And given the plethora of options, it could be a bad sign if a colleague continues to constantly email instead. It’s definitely worth asking why. 

Do they want a ‘record’ of what you’re saying? Might they be inclined to not believe you or not trust you if it’s not written down?

There’s a chance that email could just be their communication style, but it’s certainly worth digging around just in case. 

3. They constantly say ‘but’ in reference to anything you have to say

Procurement pros, you know the kind of person we’re talking about. The person that acknowledges your ideas, may even say something positive about them, but then they cannot help and insert a ‘but’ into the sentence.

It may go something like this: 

“The new supplier environmental initiatives are great, and much-needed. But…” 

has done a fantastic job negotiating the best possible payment terms with the new supplier. The contract is watertight. But…’ 

No matter what comes before the ‘but’, make no mistake: this colleague is seeking to undermine you and derail your ideas and achievements.

They may be doing this for a number of reasons, one of which is that they don’t like you. The second may be that they’re jealous or simply spiteful – but the behaviour should definitely be enough to ring alarm bells. 

If you’re seeing the above signs from a coworker, try to not stress too much: it isn’t possible to be liked by everyone, all of the time.

It is possible to simply coexist – you can, in fact, successfully work with someone who doesn’t like you (and who you don’t like). You can also try finding your voice, or trying these handy hints for what to do when you feel like you don’t fit in

Find more Career Development news, insights, and best practises at Procurious.com.

This article was originally published on May 26, 2022

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