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|Friday, September 27, 2013|
BY TOM COX | BUSINESS TIPS CONTRIBUTOR
Tim walked out of his team’s weekly meeting in a daze.
It was supposed to be a routine meeting. It turned into a debacle.
Five minutes in, Susie had hijacked the meeting to blurt out a litany of complaints she had, mostly about Tim.
Everyone else stared in silent fascination for the next 20 minutes.
To his credit, Tim had listened openly and tried to understand Susie’s perspective.
Unfortunately, as he sat thinking about it afterward, he realized he did not understand.
Tim had been managing Susie and Lisa in their work on a client contract. Susie was the best analyst on the team, but had zero experience creating client-facing deliverables. Lisa by contrast had decades of experience creating polished products to put in front of clients.
So, after Susie had done most of the analysis and created a solid working draft, Tim had assigned Lisa to take over finishing the work.
And therein lay the problem that threatened to fracture the team.
Susie felt completely disrespected by Tim. She felt that her work was being somehow credited to someone else. And she felt that if her work wasn’t fit to go in front of a client, that she should be told why.
What Tim Did Wrong
You and I have both done what Tim did: we made a decision and executed it, without properly informing others of our reasons.
That might be okay for an emergency room, where seconds matter. In most workplaces, it’s not.
By taking the work away from Susie, Tim inadvertently sent the signal that her work wasn’t good. Tim also underestimated the emotional value to Susie of having the client receive her work product. Tim wanted Susie to take pride in her work, and then destroyed her ability to have any pride in it.
And Tim never gave his reasons. He offered no explanations — leaving a vacuum, a lack of data.
Human beings handle the lack of data … badly. We tend to fill the emptiness with our own imagination.
The monster under the bed is always scarier than the monster in plain view.
Tim gave Susie no explanation, so she invented her own. (Any time you find yourself surprised at a subordinate’s anger, or find they’re making up negative stories, look to see if you left an information vacuum.)
In summary, Tim’s errors included:
Fortunately, doing better is actually quite easy.
What Tim Should do Next Time
A good leader is always looking for opportunities to improve relationships and improve capabilities. In Tim’s case, next time he should:
In Tim’s case, it would look something like this:
Tentative decision: move working draft from Susie to Lisa for final polish before giving to client.
Reasons: second pair of eyes to proofread the work; take advantage of Lisa’s experience with polishing final products
Next Step: Show the above to Susie and ask for her thoughts. Example question: “Susie, here’s what I’m thinking about doing and why. What are your thoughts? What am I missing?”
This is one way to exercise “Including” — one of the ALICE skills that good managers use:
Read more about developing the first two ALICE skills here.
One other thing Tim needs to do — acknowledge Susie’s contributions, such as by having her listed as a co-creator on the cover sheet, or having her co-present the final product.
(You can receive my free 1-page “Work Sheet for Over-Requiring Managers” by clicking here.)
Tom Cox is a Beaverton consultant, author and speaker. He coaches CEOs on how to boost performance by building workplace trust.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
BY KIM MOORE
Striving for social equity is the mission of many nonprofits, and this year’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon survey shows employees are most satisfied with their organizations’ fair treatment of differing racial, gender, disability, age and economic groups. But as a national discourse about racial discrimination and equity for low-income groups takes center stage, data show Oregon’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For still need to make progress on addressing these issues within their own organizations.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
BY DIANE BUISMAN
Many employers have questions about what mandatory sick leave means for their company. Take a look at the top 7 questions Oregon employers are asking.
Friday, October 02, 2015
BY KIM MOORE
Our intrepid (and expecting) research editor finds the child care search involves long waiting lists, costly fees and no certainty of securing a place before she goes back to work.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
As CEO and owner of five different cannabis-related businesses generating a total net revenue of $2 million, Alex Rogers could sit back and ride the lucrative wave of Oregon’s burgeoning pot industry.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
“What we’ve seen traditionally over the past few decades is a reduction of short line railroads. This is a rare opportunity to see a line being opened.”
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE
As we worked on the October cover, it became evident that Nick Symmonds is a hard man to catch — even when he’s not hotfooting it around a track.
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