Re: FWD: Managing managers and cell phones

Subject: Re: FWD: Managing managers and cell phones
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 2004 18:10:37 -0700

Anonymous wrote:

Obviously...I cannot tell her who she should be taking calls from, and
obviously, I cannot tell her that she can't take calls when we're
discussing business.

As others have said, an assumption of dominance is behind this behavior. It may or may not be conscious, but that's what it is.

I firmly believe that it is every employee's duty to train managers out of this sort of behavior. The point is not to establish your own dominance, but to keep this sort of power-game from taking place. Not only will you do your self-respect a favor, but you'll improve the work place for other people, too.

Here's some real life examples:

- A manager interrupts a work-related conversation to ask his own question. I reply, "Excuse me, we're in the middle of a discussion here. Come back in five minutes, and I'll see what I can do for you."

- A manager decides that he needs input from someone else, and hares off to the other side of the office, leaving me to wait. Usually, I just go back to my desk, but a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to make a point. It happened that seagulls were nesting on the roof across the street, and the eggs had recently hatched. I had brought a pair of binoculars to work, and would spend a few minutes at lunch or before work seeing how the fledglings were doing. I went and got the binoclulars, and made sure that I was looking through them when the manager returned. He made a comment, and I smiled and said as politely as I know how, "Well, I was just waiting anyway. I had to do something."

- In the middle of a planning session, a manger starts going through thirty or forty old e-mails dating back four or five months to see if any of them were relevant to the discussion. While he did this, the rest of us in the discussion were left waiting. After about five minutes of this, I began to foresee an afternoon wasted, I said, "You know, I think it would be more efficient if you looked through your old e-mails, then we booked a meeting tomorrow to discuss any issues that came up?" Then I walked out. Unsurprisingly, we never did have that second meeting.

In these situations, you work against your own interests if you're rude. Yet, being unassertive won't do you any good, either. Instead, be polite, be helpful where there's a chance, evoke solid corporate values like efficiency - and be firm. Following these guidelines, very few people will question you. You may have to assert yourself a couple of times before the lesson sinks in, but eventually it will.

Personally, I find acting this way distasteful. However, sometimes it's simply necessary.

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177


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FWD: Managing managers and cell phones: From: Anonymous

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