Monthly Archives: November 2010

A Simple Word – “Thanks”

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When many of us in the US are getting ready to hunker down with family and friends to enjoy our Thanksgiving holiday, it is a great time to think about giving thanks at work. 

It’s so easy to forget to say thanks.  We are all busy.  There are a million things going on.  We expect people to do their job and get on with it.  But just showing someone a little appreciation now and then can mean the difference between a “punch the clock” mentality and a committed and engaged co-worker.   

Leaders are often trying to figure out the best ways to incent people to do their best.  Of course they talk a lot about money.  And money is certainly nice.  But when leaders just take the time to show some true and honest appreciation for the work people do, the sacrifices they make, and the extra effort they spend…. they are always surprised by what a difference it makes in the outputs they see. 

And saying thanks is not just on the shoulders of the boss.  We should all thank our peers for their support, their ideas, and their companionship.  And we should even thank our boss for what they do. 

You likely spend more waking hours with your co-workers than you do with your family and friends.  These people are like your family.  Like it or not, you are in this together.  You are a team.  You are there to catch each other if someone falls.  You are there to catapult each other over the wall.  If any one person in your organization fails, the entire organization suffers.

Be grateful for each other.  And tell each other “thanks”.  People will appreciate it.  And so will you when they thanks back.

Just Treat People with Respect

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I was in a situation this week with a client where I witnessed a “higher up” treating someone who worked for him in a way that was completely and totally appalling.  He was rude, he was condescending, he was just down-right nasty.  Sadly, this is not totally new behavior for this guy.  I have seen it a few times – this was just the time that it really seemed “over the top.” 

This guy doesn’t walk around exuding “mean”.  In fact, he very adeptly hides his nastiness with a veil of a “fun guy” persona.  He is always quick with a witty story, a funny joke, or comfortable banter about weekend plans.  But when push comes to shove, he can just be mean. 

As the nastiness was unfolding before my shocked eyes, it was clear that the root of this guys bad behavior was firmly planted in his own transition through this change.  While he is a leader of the change we are working on, he is also affected by it. 

If I look at his behavior through the lens of an observer of organizational change, I see a person who is struggling to maintain control and a sense of purpose… not just a rude guy.  

He is not a project management guy, but he was put in a project management role… a highly visible project management role.  He is trying to control the you-know-what out of every element of this change.  Unfortunately, his efforts are backfiring.  Every time he clamps down and treats someone like doo-doo, his team members check out even more (several are already looking for the exits).  “Why should I bust my hump putting together a 20 page strategy or a detailed plan if I know you are going to dump all over it and basically start from scratch anyway?”  They have a point. 

It must also occur to him on occasion that there is not job “waiting” for him when this project is over.  If this project goes well and happens quickly, there might not be a place for him.  And if it goes poorly, there might not be a place for him either!  Not an enviable situation.  But he is not doing himself any favors by chasing team members away and behaving poorly.  A highly visible role is a double edged sword… the executives he is interfacing with are not dense.  They see the nastiness and are not digging it. 

I don’t believe he is a bad guy.  But there are lots of other people who experience change and uncertainly without getting mean about it.  All he needs to do is treat people with a little respect.  It’s not that complicated.   I hope he makes it.