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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.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR
Each month for Oregon Business, we assess factors that are shaping current capital market activity—and what they mean to investors. Here we take a look at two major developments regarding possible rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Saturday, December 13, 2014
A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE
The black soldier fly’s larvae are among the most ravenous and least picky eaters on earth.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
A conversation with attorney Erich Merrill about the latest way to raise money from large groups of people.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
Meetings get a bad rap. A few local companies make them count.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
We didn’t intend this issue to have an election season theme. But politics has a way of seeping into the cracks and fissures.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:
The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace.
Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.
This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay.
Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.
New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”
That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!
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Amy will practice in the firm's Business, Real Estate, and Tax practice groups.
While the Bend City Council ultimately upheld the approval which enables OSU-Cascades to move forward with the 10 acre site, it did also thoughtfully consider the nature of its code requirements, resident concerns and OSU-Cascade’s efforts and suggestions and crafted conditions of approval to address potential impacts of the site in the area.