Part of the fun for me in putting ideas and questions out to this #ladybadass community are the conversations following. It’s rare for me not to get pulled into a discussion around a question I posed or a theory I’m developing. Once in a while, I ask people to share their ideas back with you. Share, because I want you to hear different thoughts and ideas. Share because I want you to meet the phenomenal people behind the conversations.
A couple of weeks back I posed the question, “Do you stay in a role longer than you should for the sake of the team?” This particular article garnered several conversations. One, in particular, caught my attention. A conversation I had with a dear friend and co-worker from a part of my life we’ll just call “Adventures in Chicago,” and I asked her to share.
So today, I introduce you to a total #ladybadass Cindy Barry and her thoughts about staying for the team…………..
Through the years I have encountered numerous managers who were nightmares. Having someone in your direct line of management, or a peer inside or outside your division can cause angst, negatively impact morale, and demotivate everyone around them. In the end, they are adversely impacting productivity, which means they are impacting revenue.
They are often the worst kept secret in the company, well known to Human Resources (HR). We can have an entire series of articles on theories as to how and why they are allowed to stay in place. Sadly, they are a reality with which we need to contend.
When I have encountered these situations, whether they be within my direct line of management or a peer, I find I cannot turn a blind eye nor remain silent. For good or bad of my career, I tackle the situation head-on. Approaches vary, depending on the circumstances. As you read this you may have someone with which you have crossed paths in mind—we will collectively refer to them as Tim (Terrible, Incompetent Manager). Read nothing into the gender of this acronym; Tim can be male or female.
Sometimes Tim needs some coaching. I have found moderate success with this approach as not everyone is cut out to be a manager; giving proper training would take more time and effort than any of us readers would have. More times than not, his direct reports need coaching—they are thirsting for leadership and are not getting it. While this is not solving the root of the problem, it does help improve morale, productivity, and employee growth.
Tim may be a bully. In this case, Tim may need to both be confronted as the bullying occurs as well as a follow-up side conversation to point out the bad behavior.
And then there is the case where Tim is downright incompetent. As an aside, a best practice is to keep documentation of what you are observing. Citing actual examples helps Tim, as well as anyone trying to remedy the Tim-situation.
Regardless of which version of Tim I have encountered, I have the same general philosophy. Both for my own sanity, as well as those around me, I do not stay for the team. I firmly believe negative energy impacts those around you. I cannot remain in a situation where I do not feel I am successful and fulfilled. That said, I do not leave the team behind. Whether I move internally or change companies, I try to deal with Tim and influence change. I should add I have been fortunate that Tim has never been my manager, and that my manager has been a trusted confidante. While each case is different, some of the methods used include discussing the incident and reviewing options with my manager, as well as with Tim’s management chain; advising and coaching Tim’s direct reports; finally, discussing Tim with HR.
I have never regretted not staying, but I have been baffled by the tolerance many companies have shown Tim. The company risks losing outstanding employees, all because they will not deal with the situation at hand. And this is why I do not regret moving on—anyone can leave, including Tim’s staff. I will do everything I can to help them move to a position where they can excel—whether that be inside or outside the company. I will mentor and coach, reach out to my network, write letters of recommendation, help tweak resumes, whatever it takes. I do not view me as leaving the team behind; I view it as leading by example—everyone has options. A new fulfilling opportunity may be right around the corner.
We owe it to ourselves and those around us to not let Tim hold us back.
Where to find Cindy
LinkedIn – /barrycindy
Twitter – @itsmeindc
Clearly, you can understand why Cindy and I have been friends for years. It’s this kind but no-nonsense approach to everything that has both challenged me and left me laughing on the floor.
There’s a key point in this piece I’d like to tease out a little that ties back to what I keep saying over and over again. This time, however, I’m talking to management and HR and not the individual.
Every decision made about you and your opportunities is made in a room you’re not in.
In this case, the employees are the ones in the room, and they’re not choosing you.