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…

What are the Undercurrents of the Dark Side?
Dark Side for Employees / March 26, 2018

What are the Undercurrents of the Dark Side? Last time I gave an example of a group meeting where you wanted to vote ‘no.’ But despite this and having promised a colleague Thomas to do so, you voted ‘yes’. Why did you do it? Thomas would say you chickened out. The others in the group might assume you saw the strength of their arguments. At the time, you thought it was about fear of repercussions and that the larger group had a point. Anyhow, your ‘no’ vote wouldn’t have made any difference to the outcome. While all these explanations are possible, I think there are deeper reasons. Organizational undercurrents I think you were caught up in an organizational undercurrent .Organizational undercurrents are persisting, behavior-shapes systems which operate under the radar of most people but nevertheless have a compelling influence on what and how work gets done. They can force you to do things opposite to your intention (as you did in the previous example) can have even more devastating consequences than the relatively trivial example I used. What are organizational undercurrents? There are many undercurrents but in the blog, I’ll deal in detail with five: Power is the currency and…

My Boss Plays Favorites
Employee Stream , Power for Employees / December 11, 2017

My Boss Plays Favorites What it is As I mentioned in other posts, your boss creating an in-group is not unusual and even to be expected. Except when he plays favorites. He: Gives plum assignments only to them Re-assigns a project if a favorite wants it Gossips, you suspect, with the favorites about other employees Allows the favorites leeway no one else is given, like getting in late, slacking off, ‘business’ trips. What it looks like You: Tony, Hiro [Tony’s favorite] asked me about my surgery. I told you that in confidence. Tony (your boss): I’m sure he was just being sympathetic—it’s a big deal. You: That’s not the point—I told you that in confidence. Tony: I had to. He’s taking over when you’re off. You: Hiro! But he doesn’t have the background—he’s never done high level strategy. Tony: Good chance to learn. You: But so many files are at crucial points. Wouldn’t Rebecca be better— Tony: You just need to make sure you brief Hiro well. If you are hoping that Tony will slap his forehead and say, “Oh, my god, I have been playing favorites,” you’re going to wait a long time. What to do One option is…

My Boss is on a Power Trip
Employee Stream , Power for Employees / December 4, 2017

My Boss is on a Power Trip What it is This one is pretty easy to spot although not that easy to deal with. A boss on a power trip tends to: Take credit for others’ work Uses ‘I’ a lot not ‘we’ Blames others for his failures Is never wrong Makes unreasonable demands Is a control freak Spends more time brownnosing the big bosses than on his job What it looks like Lisa (your boss): You made me look bad in front of the VP! The prototype burned out before we even got started. You: But I told you we needed to rewire— Lisa: Don’t give me that. You set me up! You: I didn’t. I told you that it wouldn’t work— Lisa: Yeah sure, try to cover your ass now. Well, I’m not wearing this—I made sure everyone knew whose fault it was. You: But Lisa, if we had put in— What to do You might as well have saved your breath. Lisa has to find someone to blame. Let’s do over the conversation. An example Lisa: You made me look bad in front of the VP! The prototype burned out before we even got started. DO NOT…