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Managewhich Tips: What is “Too Busy” Saying About You?

We’re all busy. And, being busy in our culture can be a badge of honor. Busy = Important.

“Busy” is also where Managewhiches get tripped up.

Case Study 1:
Jennifer was on the receiving end of some “unpleasant” news. Her company was cutting back on hours for its hourly employees and reorganizing some of its work, and everyone was informed that “changes were coming” via mass email. Jennifer’s hours were cut in half (as she discovered by looking in the system for her schedule) and some of her duties were reassigned (as she discovered in an unfortunate incident when she showed up to work and someone else was doing her job).

Jennifer brought up to her management that as a process point, this isn’t the best way to deliver bad news.  In the case of the reassignment, there was nothing communicated, and it made for an awkward moment for both employees and the customers that were there to witness the exchange.

The response Jennifer got from her managebitch was thanks for the feedback and please refer to the mass email.  Afterall, with X number of people to manage that she was “too busy” to contact people directly.

Here’s what Jennifer inferred:

  • My managebitch talks a good game about appreciation and caring, but she doesn’t care enough about us to take the time to communicate with us directly when there’s sensitive or bad news to deliver
  • My managebitch always has to be right (that one comes from making it Jennier’s “fault” when her work was reassigned)

I look at Jennifer’s managewhich and wonder what it must be like for her to be so afraid that she can’t admit when she’s done something poorly or when she’s made a mistake.  And, I bet she learned this behavior from someone else in the organization.

The long term effect of this is that the trust is gone.  It may have been expedient and less time consuming to send the mass email, and it was also impersonal and insensitive.  Before you tell Jennifer to grow up, let’s remember the important role that emotions play in the workplace.  She may suck it up and put on a nice face, but inside, the trust is still gone.

Case Study 2:

Glenn was promoted to director 5 years ago.  At one time, he was considered “high potential,”  and he’s 2 years past when he “should have” received his next promotion.  Glenn doesn’t get it.  He works hard… and lot… on data points, reports, designs, etc.

Glenn overheard someone say that he isn’t seen as “executive material.”  Unfortunately, he didn’t feel comfortable hitting that person up for more information, even though the evesdropping was unintentional.  He asked me what I thought.  Truth is, I’m not onsite shadow coaching, so I don’t have as much information as I might.  If I were to guess,  it is that he’s doing stuff he might want to consider delegating.  Getting work done through the efforts of others is one of the definitions of a great manager.  You don’t see VP’s mucking around in Excel formulas. His “too busy” may be saying “not executive material.”

Case Study #3:

Robert is consistently woefully behind on his email.  The result is that he responds to the most urgent of the emails without checking the back history or whether there is a more recent update.  The result is that he ends up reacting, instead of responding, without all the facts.  Rarely does this work in his favor.  He usually ends up tripping all over himself, and when he’s called on it, he’s honest…. too much email.

“Cant manage my email” = “Can’t manage my work” = “Ineffective manager.”  This is an administration problem better fixed than named as an excuse for doing a poor job.

So, when does “too busy” work?  When you’re saying no to doing too much.

Be Your Best You Today,

Carolann Jacobs

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