Perhaps one of the hardest things about being a manager, next to firing, is coaching and advising people to change behaviour. Its not a manipulative thing, but organisations work in certain ways, and, particularly at more senior levels, people need to mostly conform, or know when not conforming is most effective.
I’ve got an instance now that is causing me no end of grief. One of my key managers is not young (early thirties) but on the young side. He’s a highly effective programme manager, excellent at juggling status reports, ensuring the right things get escalated to the right people. I regard him pretty highly, but he has a few emotional ticks I need to work with him on.
Being an ambitious sort he absolutely loves being in the know, to appear to those more senior around him that he understands everything. For the most part, I have no issue with that. Part of his job is keeping the senior team well informed. However, he can tell a tale to make himself look good. Like he sees an issue that no one else does or is managing.
The problem is, he’s not aware of everything, nor can he be. A few times recently he’s told the status of an issue such that it has swung around and been used politically. I just can’t have someone telling an issue differently to different people.
So, we’ve had one chat, and now we need another. The first was of a friendly sort, the second will be a bit more stern. He’s a smart guy, so I know this can be resolved, but sometimes I just wish it wasn’t necessary. Someday we’ll have a big group mind and all understand each other perfectly. Until then, its muddle along and manage…