Conflicting Orders
Power / August 21, 2017

You can be Caught by Conflicting Orders You’ve just come from an all-staff meeting. The CEO seems great. She’s all fired up about a new approach to teamwork which encourages employees to work across silos to share expertise and resources. You’re eager to give it a try. You’re walking back from the meeting with your boss, Sean. You: Boy, that was a great, don’t you think? Sean: Yeah, sure, Angela. You: I mean, we need to break down silos across the company. Sean: I guess so. You: So what do you think we should be doing? Sean: I think you should keep doing what you’re doing. You: But Ms Danvers— Sean: Yeah, same old, same old. Back at your cubicle, you’re a little nonplussed. Sean is usually quite a good guy. Maybe he just got out of the wrong side of the bed. Your office neighbor (Lori) comes back to her desk. You: What did you think of the meeting? Lori: That Danvers—she can really get everybody fired up. You: Yeah, I thought so. But Sean didn’t seem to. Lori: (shrug) I don’t think he likes Danvers. You: How come? Lori: Well, we got hit pretty hard on the last…

Getting Credit from the Execs
Power / August 14, 2017

Getting Credit from the Execs In the last post, you were disappointed that your boss was tapped to do an important presentation on the pre-kindergarten game that you designed. You should get credit for your achievements and, to be fair, your supervisor, Melody, has done so. But I get why you might want the powers-that-be to know also—it’s a way to build your credibility and career. Let’s discuss how to come to the attention of senior people when you are in a large company. Offer to do technical demo In the previous conversation, Melody justified doing the presentation because she could present the financial and marketing background. It makes sense, but you might be able to wrangle doing the technical demonstration of the game. Might work, might not. A lot will depend, not so much on Melody’s good will (although that’s important, also) but on your company’s usual way of handling the situation. How to act at the executive meeting Say you get permission to do the technical demo. Congrats but you need to ensure you make the most of the opportunity. You want everyone to think, “What an up-and-comer,” not “Who does he think he is?” Here are some…

My Boss is Taking Credit for My Work
Power / August 7, 2017

My Boss is Taking Credit for My Work This post will apply primarily to those working in large companies or very established ones. It might have less relevance if you’re in a small company or a new one or a young one. The situation You have been working on a great new game for smart pre-kindergarteners. Your boss (Melody) has been unstinting in her praise. You have done a prototype and it’s now ready for prime time—that is, presentation to the executive committee. But it becomes clear that Melody will do it, not you. This annoys you and you decide to have it out with her. Should you do the presentation? You: Melody, got a moment? Melody: Sure, Nick. What’s on your mind? You: I have a bone to pick. How come you’re doing the presentation to the executive committee? Melody: Well, because the VP asked me to. You: In my last company, I got to do the presentations. Melody: But here, it’s usually the manager who does it. You: How come? I know the product best. Melody: Absolutely, but do you know about the costs, the projected sales and the ROI? You: The what? Melody: Return on Investment—the executive…

Defending Against Credit Stealers
Power / July 31, 2017

Defending Against Credit Stealers In the last post, you found out that you and your collaborator, Wes, had completely different interpretations of whether he had hogged the limelight. You were eventually able to work out things out. But what if you have suspected all along that Wesley, hail-fellow-well-met that he is, is unlikely to be trustworthy in sharing credit? How do I know? It’s not always easy, especially since Wesley has been helpful with your project and added value. But some things you can look for: Does he use ‘I’ a lot? I did it rather than we did it. This can be an indication of his penchant. Is he the first off the mark? That is, he consistently grabs the first word even in just regular get-togethers. Does he go on and on? He never takes a breath so someone else can break in. All of these are annoying but can just be the signs of a vigorous extrovert. The real kicker is: Do you trust him? If you already find yourself picking your words carefully when with him or avoiding sharing ideas, you might have something to worry about. Setting up differently Knowing that you are both going…

Confronting a Credit Stealer
Power / July 24, 2017

Confronting a Credit Stealer In the last post, you had developed a game for pre-kindergarten. Wesley, who is senior to you but not your boss, had been very helpful in brainstorming solutions to problems. But when both of you were asked to present the game to the management group, Wesley took all the airtime, making you look like a hanger-on. After the meeting, you are steaming at the dirty trick. You’re gonna get him on it. The letting-off-steam approach You: Why did you do it? Wesley: Hey, Nick, I thought things went pretty well in there. You: Yeah, with you hogging all the credit. Wesley: What? I was showing the product in the best light. You: And where do you get off giving it a name? Wesley: It just came to me. But good, no? You: That’s not the point. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Wesley: What are you talking about? I saved your ass when you clammed up. You: I didn’t—you didn’t let me have any air time. Wesley: Let you? I wasn’t stopping you—I was covering for you. You: And took all the credit. Wesley: Oh, grow up, Nick. I’m not your babysitter—if you want air…