Letting Your Own Needs Interfere With Your Management Responsibilities

Letting Your Own Needs Interfere With Your Management Responsibilities You, of course, never do this. You are totally objective and above all such pettiness. Un-huh. And when you get over yourself, you can be welcomed back into the human race. In the workplace, companies demand everyone make decisions based on what’s good for the company and not themselves. You’re a team player if you do and a selfish, ambitious, and self-serving person if you don’t. So, it’s natural to present yourself as the company wants you to be. But your own needs can get in the way Unfortunately, companies aren’t entirely wrong (even though they are entirely self-serving) in their view. Enterprises generally work better if people think of the bigger picture rather than of their own advantage. Which still doesn’t take away from the very human need to try to get what is best for us (i.e. me) versus the balance of humanity. Everybody wants things to go their way. The issue is compounded for managers because they often have within their power to decide questions in which they have a personal stake. For example, in deciding holiday schedules, you have the final say and it turned out the…

How do I Manage to Minimize Groupthink?

How do I Manage to Minimize Groupthink? In the last post, I covered whether to deal with underground, and often incorrect, employee perceptions. I think you need to as a manager and doing so will help address one of the most pernicious undercurrents: groupthink. What is groupthink? Groupthink is one of several undercurrents of which most people are unaware but which can materially affect their careers. Specifically, groupthink is the tendency of a group to seek consensus even if it doesn’t produce the best solution. It is a major bar to innovation. In future, I’ll discuss the phenomenon in more detail but right now, I think it is sufficient to say that groupthink comes from an almost overwhelming need of most people to get along with their colleagues. This need can sometimes lead to papering over issues which should not be, or even starting to believe that you are in error because  of the group’s differing expressed views. This is what happened in the post on deciding holiday schedules. I realize that in the panoply of management responsibilities, deciding holiday schedules is right down there, but I chose that situation precisely because it is minor to show that undercurrents can…

Conflicting Orders—Refuse the Project
Employee Stream , Power for Employees / September 11, 2017

Conflicting Orders—Refuse the Project In the last post, you asked your boss Sean’s permission to go ahead with a cross-silo project. He was either angry or gave you a chance. Problem is you don’t know which one it will be before the fact. Wouldn’t it be best to avoid undertaking the project completely, given you know that Sean is lukewarm to the idea? What kind of risk are you taking? You presumably know Sean to some extent. You’ve seen his reaction in other situations. Does he fly off the handle when things don’t go his way, or stay calm? Does he allow push-back on his orders, or do you know not to question him? These and other indicators can give you some predictive power on his reaction to broaching the cross-silo project. Pay attention. Should you assume the worst? If, after this assessment, you’re pretty sure that he’ll go ballistic, you’d be wise to keep your head down. But what if the risk doesn’t seem so extreme? What if he might go for it? In this case, I’d encourage asking, not just for the sake of the project. Being afraid to even raise an issue can lead to an unhealthy…

Conflicting Orders—Ask Your Boss
Power for Employees / September 4, 2017

Conflicting Orders—Ask Your Boss Your CEO (Danvers) gave a rousing speech about breaking down silos. In the last post, you and your buddy Ethan from another section decided to go ahead with a cross-silo project. Your boss (Sean) did not react well. Given this, should you have asked him first even though you think he would have said no? Let’s see what happens. If your boss is kind of a shit Sean: What did I tell you after the staff meeting? You: You said to keep working— Sean: Exactly—just work on the projects I assign you. You: But what about the CEO— Sean: (makes a disgusted noise) These mucky-mucks don’t know what they’re talking about. The trick is to keep your head down until they go haring off after another great idea. You: But if she really wants to change things— Sean: I’ll tell you if you need to change anything. You: Ah, okay. So you’ve asked and as you’ve feared, Sean has vetoed the idea without even giving you a chance to explain. You’re discouraged and Sean is probably pissed off that you questioned his original order. If your boss is kind of a good guy Sean: What did…

Conflicting Orders—Follow the Big Boss
Employee Stream , Power for Employees / August 27, 2017

Conflicting Orders—Follow the Big Boss In the last post, you went to an inspiring all-staff meeting where the CEO, Ms. Danvers, encouraged everyone to work across silos to create greater team work. You think it’s a great idea although your boss Sean seems neutral. But your buddy Ethan from another unit (silo) of the company is also enthusiastic and suggests you work together on a great new app. You really believe in the CEO’s message so you agree to start work on the project. For the next couple of weeks, you work hard on it and you’re getting excited about its potential. It’s taken more time than anticipated but you figure with one last push, you’ll at least have a demo. You can imagine the CEO using your work and Ethan’s as an example of cross-silo teamwork . However, at the beginning of the third week, Sean leans over your cubicle wall. Sean: Hey, Ange, I was expecting the Houston redesign on Friday. What’s up? You: Oh, sorry, Sean, it’s taking longer than expected. I should have it to you by the end of the week. Sean: But what about the Kowallski project for this week? It’s due by Friday,…