So often in the work place we get frustrated with how people communicate or interact with one another. A personal pet peeve of mine is late deliverables. Late deliverables with a heads up and communication or notification of the lateness – not a problem. Late deliverables with no communication and my skin crawls just a little bit. Occasionally, the sender will bump into me with apologies for being late and the natural, dismissive response I give is “no problem at all” (which is a lie) but worse more so, is when the sender bumps into me and does nothing to address it simply moving onto the next thing. And before you know it, this seemingly small thing has internally combusted and remained a stain on that person’s “white sheet of paper” with me and the worst thing is…they don’t even know it. It is my issue.
After my run in with my boss a few months ago (see Lego post), it got me thinking…here she was trying to manage me one way with the best intentions. Trying to push me to succeed and instead of driving me to success, she was alienating me because I needed to be managed in the opposite way. What if, when I had joined her team, I had given her my blue print of how best to work with me and in return asked her for hers? What if I had taken the time to do the same for my team I inherited? At our first team meeting wouldn’t it have been great to have introduced myself and handed out my blue print and in return ask for theirs? My blue print top items would have read something like this…1. if a deliverable is going to be late, let me know (I have no problem with lateness, I have a problem with not owning the lateness)…2. I don’t take hints, if you need something ask for it, don’t beat around the bush (but be gentle about it)…3. and don’t work gossip around me (it makes me feel uncomfortable)…
My team now knows certain things about what gets under my skin and what I respond well to, but I bet they don’t know everything and same thing for them with me. I know most of how they respond, what they like, what they don’t like, but could it be better? Many great working rhythms we have in play today have been trialed and errored throughout the year with a lot of feedback and open discussions coming either mid-year and end of year reviews or biweekly touch bases. The heavens part a little when I think of the time and effort (not all but definitely some) that could have been saved with a blue print when we open the box on new working relationships and introductions. When you buy a car, you get an instruction manual. When you buy a Target lamp, you try to put it together yourself, get frustrated, and then return to the box for the instructions. That cheaply made plastic kids toy you bought last Christmas, yes even that comes with a how to manual.
In a few weeks my life is going to take a different work direction. My new boss contacted me and said if I need anything let him know. My response will be a blue print as I hand him over mine.