RSS Feed

Tag Archives: hiring

Some Managers Don’t Like Questions a Story in Miscommunication!

Some Managers Don’t Like Questions a Story in Miscommunication!

It has been sometime since I have written and I realized I never actually published this post from before the new year. It is interesting to let things sit for a spell. The one example I used in this post actually resolved itself extremely well, but I will save that for the end.

I have been talking a great deal to people in various stages of their career, one in interview stage, another just starting their job and a 3rd well established, yet the theme is the same don’t ask. Maybe I have been spoiled in my career in that I have always asked questions of my employer or potential employer, sometimes maybe even too many questions, but they are what I felt were good questions at the time. I would even go so far to say that it is my style that has allowed me to grow and help my company and those around me grow, change, be nimble, creative, etc… The list goes on. I would also be courageous enough to say that I have been supportive to my employees questions. That I created a safe environment for them to ask questions and make mistakes, I truly hope that I did this. More about that in a bit, back to the examples.

Someone I know has been interviewing for a high level almost director level position with a very well established and large organization for quite some time. There have been several phone interviews, and face to face interviews and the potential new hire had questions in regards to the structure of the organization to better understand where they would fit and how they would make the most impact. What did the hiring committee hear these questions as, uncertainty about the quick-moving pace of the environment, needing more clear direction and that the person would need a more structured, concrete role. Interestingly enough the potential employee had said, prior to getting this feedback, when discussing how they felt it went, “I am just not sure that they are clear and can all agree on what they want.” The irony in this situation blows me away! Not only did this candidate have the hiring committee pegged, they were probably the best for the environment, if they wanted someone who could understand and read them and the way they make decisions. On the other hand, they may have either just wanted a “Yes” person or someone who would never question the group.

I will save the middle story for another day and skip to the 3rd. Long term manager level employee who tries to work with their very intense power lusting boss. This is the type of boss that just shouldn’t exist anymore, I thought this type went out in the 60’s but they still exist and they are still breeding… ughh. The dictator is completely freaked out by anyone who threatens them, they don’t know how to actually communicate what they need from you and because you are not a mind reader you are an insubordinate and incompetent employee. So after a number of reviews by this new boss that all are leading to the unemployment line the employee finally decides they have tried reasoning, pleasing, pleading, anything they could think of and it is now time to go over their head. Unfortunately 8 out of 10 times this never ends well for the employee.

So why does this not end well for the employee? Well, the manager hired that person in question, or at least manages them and they wouldn’t make a poor decision. Another reason why this typically does not end well for the employee? The employee is nervous and intimidated to dredge all of the issues up to the manager and the bosses boss, they are uncertain, they may sound accusatory, lack confidence, etc… This means that when they are communicating, they are most likely not doing it to the best of their ability.

What to learn from all of this? Awareness. I am not saying that we shouldn’t ask questions or that we can’t. Here is what I would like you to take from this, you can use it in a number of aspects in your life:

What do I want the outcome to be?

That’s right, start with where you would like to see this end up, whatever the situation. Then work backwards. I may have to create an entire post on this… but it should get you started.

So the ending: that power lusting boss I had mentioned – they were actually fired recently after several other employees complained and when the habits of under performing employees began to show a pattern that this may have been more closely tied to the boss than the employees!

Image Credit

How to Handle the New Kid (being one and working with one)

No one, let me repeat, no one, likes to be the new kid at the office no matter how old they are and on the other hand the existing regime is hesitate to the new person too. This has gone on since our days of junior high, walking down the halls nervous and awkward hoping that we will fit in somewhere and make a new friend. More importantly that we will stand out for the right reasons or just fade in to the background (depending on our personality).

Interestingly enough both the new hire and the exisiting employees are reluctant for similar reasons:

  1. Training: learning new things is tough, you want to be fast and efficient and show what you know already. Training new people takes away from your daily work and we already have acknowledged that we are all working harder and with less on most days so this can feel like a burden, especially without a strong plan in place.
  2.  Where do you fit: Knowing your place and the reality of your place. Hopefully this was clearly defined during the interview AND orientation process then reiterated in your team meeting both for the new person as well as the team. What a relief it is when there isn’t the tension of wondering if you will step on someones toes or understanding why you are no longer working on a particular project by yourself.
  3. Remove your prejudgments for the first month. This goes for both sides. Don’t worry about what someone looks like. Dress to impress but don’t over do it. Be sure to be a strong listener and don’t make assumptions. Give others and yourself the opportunity to learn about one another, don’t be too closed off and don’t share too much (have balance).

Employee Tips: Know that you have the ability to increase your success by working hard and not acting like a know it all. Even if you have the answer or the best solution in your mind, take time to discover why the company you are working for isn’t doing it that way and ask good questions, beyond “Why?”. Understand that not all companies are as well equipped or prepared to train and orientate you as they should be or your last company was. This may not be a reflection of how they operate as a business, it may just be a reaction to the speed in which they needed you or based on the needs of the business. Try to be patient and acclimate as best as possible.

Employer Tips: At minimum you must be prepared even if you don’t have the entire first 2-3 weeks planned out. Have an orientation packet complete with an agenda, handbook, training tools, org chart, phone/email list and job description. Have their desk ready with any items that they might need. Pair them with a work partner or office mentor beyond their trainer so that they have 2 people to go to besides you. Try not to run any incentive contests within the person first 3 weeks. Meet with them at the end of each day for the first week to 2 weeks and at the end of each week for their first 4-5 weeks giving feedback, asking questions and looking for new training opportunities.

Co-workers: This is a whole other section. Bottom line, don’t show off or push the work you don’t want to do on the new person. Act as a guide and an equal. Inquire about the persons background and learn from them. They were hired for a reason. Remeber all that complaining you were doing about the overload of work, assume they are there to ease some of the work load.

More to come on training and orientation but hopefully this will serve as a guide.

%d bloggers like this: