I am tired and grumpy tonight. Why? Because I am trying to reach some people who just don’t want to be reached. But I keep trying. Am I a silly masochist, or a patient manager?
Our organisation has undergone some significant changes in the last year, and the evolution is continuing. And as the main change protagonist, I face several management challenges. Not the least being that we have 25 staff spread over four locations.
During the last few weeks I have been working at one of our locations almost exclusively. Interacting directly with the staff and exchanging information about what is happening. I enjoy it, I can see the facial expressions and tone of voice that are missed by quantitative reports. But, whilst this is an effective way to monitor organisational changes (I use some others as well), it has two key challenges for me.
The first is that it is time consuming. Toiling away at little stuff, all in the aid of achieving the big picture takes up lots of time away from my office. But I am dealing with that.
The second challenge is a bit tougher, for me anyway. Being out and about is seen by a few to be obtrusive. They interpret my overt observations as either an indication of mistrust or a lack of confidence. This is despite my reassurances to the contrary and the example of my actions and history.
I have always been an activist at work. And to be an activist you must be involved with what is going on around you, which is why I like to get out and about. I want to be part of the scene, not aloof, not turning away as though I don’t see or hear.
We (the management team) at our organisation try really hard to fill people in on what we are doing, what we are working on. We are frank and honest, sometimes too honest. For my part, I communicate as informally, as openly and as regularly as possible.
Why? Because I trust our people, I want to draw them into our vision, give them a sense of the bigger picture. I try to signal to them that I trust them by sharing sensitive information. I trust them to sort out what can be passed on and what can’t.
So why can’t I get the buy-in of some people? Why, after five years do they think I am “up to something?” Why, when the rest of their peers choose to move on, do these guys behave like handbrakes? Do they enjoy it? Is it fun for them to argue every point? To be constantly negative? To be always defensive?
I am tired of thinking about it. It makes me grumpy.