Settle the Score

Have you ever found yourself working with someone who you didn’t get along with? I don’t mean someone who is a bit annoying; I mean someone that you knew in your heart would never be someone you could trust? That’s a difficult place to be. When that person is a high level leader it makes the relationship that much more complicated.

Stay Strong
The absolute first step in managing this relationship is to stay focused on you. Do not get caught up in a battle against the other person. Keeping yourself, and your team, focused on your priorities is essential. The moment you start jumping every time your colleague snaps their fingers you’ve lost. These difficult personalities often use manipulation as a vehicle to gain more power. Do not play along…sophomoric gamesmanship is easily avoided if you are willing to stay strong. It’s not easy, but necessary.
Keep Track of the Drama
Although working with these folks is often quite challenging, it is important to make sure you keep a simple set of notes of the examples of behavior as it occurs. This strategy is used regularly with front line employees, but is often underutilized at the executive level. I’m not advocating for a witch-hunt mentality, but I would suggest that unless you have a photographic memory, over time you will feel incredibly frustrated with the other person but not have the details available to reference.

CYA is No Way to Work
Sadly, one of the results of these situations is that those around the difficult leader spend an inordinate amount of time checking and rechecking work, projects, and action items just to be ready for the eventual criticism/manipulation. That simply means time is being wasted preparing for the person instead of doing our work. Covering one’s backside is just not productive. Instead, align yourself with honest people who have a strong reputation inside your company. Build your personal equity with them to prepare for the manipulation soap opera that is sure to come.

How About You
There are no easy solutions for dealing with these leaders. One priority for us all is to ensure we shield our employees from their influence. Be clear that you are their leader and will support them. Do not allow them to become quasi staff members of the disruptor’s group. They need to know you will be there for them when situations get tense. You won’t always be able to remove these people from your organization, but with the right attitude and actions, you and your team can be successful in spite of it all. I should know, I’ve been through it before.
I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pics courtesy of maskofsanity and aegroups