Recently I was subjected to a “spill” regarding a lack of “can do attitude”.
Now lets be clear on this.
This speech came to my team after disclosing that certain job functions owned by others should be completed by others. Mind you, our assistance is certainly available if needed, but if it falls out of our realm of requirement or ability it shouldn’t be our responsibility for it’s completion.
There have been other times where saying “no” was tied directly towards not following a path that would lead to serious operational and financial issues at a later time. These instances were met with the same response.
This type of mentality leads to a lot of frustration, in my environment, and in others. Not to mention stress for those around who have to audible and absorb the shock of reckless decision making. Especially decision making that is driven by a single party, who against advisement; persists on a course of destruction. On the way vilifying those who oppose them from a sense of stewardship and reason.
This has become a serious problem in our business culture. I do believe, for the sake of innovation, we need to challenge things. I do believe we need to ask “why not”, but when the answer for why not is sound you need to stop. The best I can figure is that this mentality is simply driven by the ego, or ignorance of the individual making the decisions. Either they trust themselves far more than their advisors, or they don’t fully grasp what they are being advised about. In some instances it may be both, and all they can see is the future praise they expect to receive upon crossing their finish line. What’s worse? This behavior is greatly encouraged in management. The individuals who are supposed to manage and decide on the greater interest of the company are taught to do so off their gut and some pop-psych concept of anything is possible.
What is wrong with saying no? What is wrong with saying the cost of this implementation and it’s continued support far outweighs any of it’s benefits? What is wrong with saying I can’t do something? What is wrong with saying, “we have people paid to perform these jobs, why is it on our plate and not theirs?”
Nothing, there is nothing wrong with it. The argument might come up that we aren’t team players, but the last time I checked a team was the sum of all members and not one member doing the work of all the other members. Each has a role to serve and they serve it, that is a team. Carrying the burden of a few or supporting team members where you can, sure, but not out right taking over their position.
To someone in management reading this I would tell you these two things that will infinitely improve your situation and your subordinates:
- Don’t commit from a position of ignorance
- Ignorance of the subject, or it’s criteria
- Trust your subordinates
- Trust their advisement
- Trust their knowledge
One last thing on trust. If you can’t trust them, why are they still working for you?