Office Dynamic Dilemmas

Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by pygmalion, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

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  2. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Love the comic strip, btm! :)

    And on another note, a few career-related themes came up in another thread, so I am going to post them here for general discussion purposes.

    In a work context, how do you define leadership? How does one go about developing leadership skills? If you already have leadership skills, how do you make them visible?

    What strategies can you use to prevent coworkers/bosses, etc from taking credit for your work?

    What are some good ways of blowing ones own horn in the workplace?

    What are some specific things one can do in a business meeting to get taken seriously?

    ETA I know. That's a lot of questions. No need to answer all at once. Just grab a hunk that you're comfortable with. :)
  3. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    In this context, there's no such thing as "cold". There's only "heat", and the heat gradient between the outside and the inside of the cooler. The contents of a cooler at room temperature will warm sooner and more than the contents of a cooler in a refrigerator.
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    True. But room temp or in a fridge, your stuff is probably safe 'til lunchtime. *giggle*
  5. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Thanks, P. I know my other post brought up a lot of these questions; I just hadn't gotten to corralling my thoughts and posting them here. Thank you for doing that for me.
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    A nosy butt-insky. That's me. ;)
  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    Wow. This thread came to a grinding halt. Just what I get for asking too many things at once. lol.

    My take on this question? The tactic that has worked for me is to make it impossible for someone else to take credit by having written documentation of what i am actually doing. So, for example, when I had a boss who'd subtly take credit, I'd start putting my initials on every document in very small and innocuous, but unmistakeable font. I made it look innocent saying stuff like XX - rev1 1/28/13. So it looked like I was tracking revisions, rather than taking credit, but I got credit all the same.

    Another tactic: Informing the rest of the world at the same time as I informed my boss. So, instead of running the last revision by him, I'd send it to the whole distribution list and make sure he was on it. (With this one, timing is everything, because you want to make sure your boss is kept in the loop but not closely enough in the loop to steal your thunder.)
    Purr likes this.
  8. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    wasn't Buttinsky one of Kojak's cops?
    Mr 4 styles likes this.
  9. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    In a work context, how do you define leadership? How does one go about developing leadership skills? If you already have leadership skills, how do you make them visible?


    Since none of the above happens here, I will answer in the third person, about a boss, whose practice I thought had some really good qualities. 1. Transparency and up-frontedness. both with his staff and his clients. 2.Regular reviews of work progress so staff were able to put their input/contribution, and 3.giving them as much autonomy as he felt they were able to handle.
    How do you take develop leadership skills. I don't have them, I'm a lone wolf, but take the initiative, always. Be assertive about your ideas, views, and accept sometimes they will listened to and often not.


    What strategies can you use to prevent coworkers/bosses, etc from taking credit for your work?

    What are some good ways of blowing ones own horn in the workplace?

    What are some specific things one can do in a business meeting to get taken seriously?

    I think you are talking work politics here, I know nothing of that. it really depends on how your workplace operates, how dirty it gets, how competitive it is, etc. etc.
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

  11. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I have a an office situation. Not sure if I'm looking for solutions, commiseration, or if I just want to vent. But here goes. One of my major projects at work involves being a liaison to an external customer. I work directly with their marketing team, R&D, sales. I research new products, put together customer information. A bunch of stuff.

    I lead a group of ten or so people who also support this external customer, but I am the point person. The buck stops with me. I am the team leader, but not the boss. So, even though I have influence, I do not have the authority to take disciplinary action. IOW, I can suggest things, but I can't officially make anyone do anything. However, I am the one who is held responsible if things go wrong.

    To make it more interesting, this project is considered a "growth venture" which means that a lot of processes and procedures don't exist yet. We're making it up as we go, as we discover that new things are needed. It's very fuzzy, and judgment calls are often needed.

    Anyway, I have one team member who has been uncooperative from day one. If I put together a procedure to do A, she'll do Z. The whole team does A, but she doesn't. Even if I email the whole team, or repeatedly explain in meetings why the decision was made to do A, she'll still do Z. Or she'll complain over and over when she's required to make judgment calls, even though everyone was told at the outset that we'd all be flying by the seat of our pants for a while. Or worse, she won't complain. She'll just make a poor judgment call that can have negative impact on the whole team, but especially me. :D

    Making judgment calls is the nature of this job. So I've spent months and months documenting procedures so that there are as few judgment calls as possible. But this lady either doesn't read the documentation or goes against what is written. So. Often.

    My trust in her ability to do this job has diminished so much that I literally go back and review every single customer interaction she has, to make corrections. Having her on the team is creating so much work and so much stress for me.

    But I don't want to be the kind of coworker who runs to management with tattle tales. For one, I think that can be counterproductive, if the goal is to have a cohesive, peaceful team. Two, I don't think talking to her management would address the issue, because, as I see it, there'll always be a new complication. What I see is two things. One, because I'm not "the boss," she feels free to ignore protocols she disagrees with. Two. She's not comfortable making judgment calls, and often makes poor decisions.

    Dunno what to do. *sigh*
  12. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member


    get her off your team..
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I wish I could get rid of her easily. Of course, maybe the answer is that she needs to go, even though there's no easy way to do it.

    Another really annoying thing about this situation is that everyone on the team has been given multiple chances to opt out. Everybody knows that it's a tough project. So anyone can quit anytime they want (other than me. I have so much IP in my head that, short of death, the only way out for me is a lengthy transition while I train a replacement.)
  14. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    You speak to the boss.
    danceronice likes this.
  15. Purr

    Purr Well-Known Member

    Hah! That's too funny. I've done the same thing, by imbedding my name or ID in presentations, spreadsheets, and other documents I've created. I got tired of folks trying to take credit for something I'd done.

    It's a sad statement on office politics.
  16. Lioness

    Lioness Well-Known Member

    The way I see it, it's not tattling if she is having a negative impact on the team, the project, and the company. If she won't leave by herself, but she's not performing up to standard, then someone who can do something about that should know.
  17. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    If it were me in this situation, I'd consider having a friendly one-on-one with her, framed as:

    "I want to review a few things with you to make sure we're in alignment, because the success of our project depends on everyone on the team working towards the same end." Then present a very short bullet list of those areas where she has been diverging from the team's approach.

    Keep the meeting short. Focus on the team's success and the team's working together, not on her and how she's bucking the system. Be friendly but be professional. Thank her for her contribution to the team, express your thanks for being a part of the project, then end the meeting on a warm note, having expressed very clearly what you need from her *without framing it like blame*.

    That'd be the first strategy I'd consider. YMMV. :)
  18. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    It may stink to be responsible even when one has limited authority, but definitely one of the traits & challenges of being a leader is the ability to inspire those you're supposed to be leading...to follow.

    Consider it a personal challenge to your leadership skills. If you make it about you, P, rather than her, it changes the tone of the situation. Every leader of any group of people has to face this challenge, and tattling isn't leadership...though at some point it may become necessary to speak with someone' supervisor.

    Last resort, in my book.
    pygmalion likes this.
  19. DerekWeb

    DerekWeb Active Member

    Assumming that everyone at work, or anywhere else, will be cooperative is a wrong assumption. 1 out of 10 is actually a good ratio. As team leader, you are expected to make it smooth. If you are in a large company, calling someout out and causing trouble is a bigger sin than wasting millions of dollars. Especially if the person reports up to a differant organization or boss. No one wants conflict. That is just the way it is. We all learn it the hard way.
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    Exactly. I can't count the number of teams I've led over the years. The problem is that the organizations I've led (anything from a few to a few hundred members) have always been made up completely of volunteers.

    This is a different situation. Although people do have the option to express their preference, it's not exactly voluntary. It's a work assidgnment with deliverables that are tied to a pay check. And, because it's a high visibility, high-challenge project, some people (including the woman I'm complaining about) may feel that there'd be a political price to pay for quitting the team. Even if they don't want to be there, they may choose to stay rather than the alternative, which us losing political capital or positiv visibility at work.

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