Don’t Make Your Job Hard


Part 2 of 3

“I was in management for a few weeks when a large company bought us,” Willard explained.  “The new owners said there would be no major changes.  But in the first month, they required us to transition to their IT system for tracking job status and costs.”

Willard continued, “I understood why the new company wanted consistent processes, but my staff was very confident in our current system.  A tug of war ensued between my staff and corporate.”

“How did you handle that?” I asked.

Willard said, “I waffled back and forth between supporting management and advocating for my employees.  My team fell behind schedule.  Corporate officials grew impatient and told me to get my group in compliance.  At the same time, my people became frustrated because they thought I was not supportive enough.  I just felt like I was caught in a vise.”

Managers who try to straddle the fence between their team members’ wishes and corporate requirements just make their jobs hard.  Willard’s job would have been easier had he explained corporate’s reasons and said something like, “I’m confident we can meet the schedule for transitioning to the new system, and I’ll support you every way I can.”

 

Why Appeasing Impractical Demands Does Not Work


“After we introduced changes for tracking orders, two vocal members of my team argued that they did not need to comply because part of the process did not apply to them.” A manager said to me.

“Was their complaint valid?” I asked.

“Not really.  They just didn’t want to change the way they were entering data.”

“Were they good team members?”

“I would say ‘no.’  They performed OK but complained a lot.”

“What did you do?”

“It required a little extra work on my part, but I finally agreed to carve out an exception for them.”

Less than a month later, the same individuals demanded upgrades for their workstations.  The manager explained that their workstations would handle the process if they would just install the revised software.  Of course, the whiners had their reasons for not liking the software revisions.

As tempting as it may sound, attempts to appease demands of aggressors almost never placates them.  Caving to impractical demands begets more demands—not improved cooperation.  And why not? Complainers, who get results, are emboldened to continue demanding more and more.

The more effective way to deal with unreasonable demands is to simply refuse to comply with the demands.