As the end of the year approaches, optimal results require an all hands on deck approach. If peers or subordinates are taking a lackadaisical approach, are you to blame?
Familiar relationships in the workplace can be highly rewarding. From sharing perspectives to having each other’s backs, to solving issues together, all benefits the whole team in creating a cohesive workplace.
However, if you are not careful, that sense of familiarity can easily become a double-edged sword. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar (regarding subordinates or peers)?
For unacceptable behavior or mediocre job performance, you say nothing but…
- Offer professional excuses on their behalf, “I know…but they are so good at xyz.”
- Offer personal excuses for them, “They’re going through a tough time right now.”
- Repeat the term, “That’s just the way he/she is,” as an excuse to others.
You avoid discussing confrontational topics because…
- You worry about the consequences of losing them since they are your only expertise in xyz.
- Your customer loves them, and you can’t jeopardize that.
- Your boss loves them, and it will hurt you in the long run.
- You are in a social relationship with them: they are your lunch, drinks, manicure, or golf buddy.
- You are childhood friends with them or related to them.
- You need them…to get the job done, (despite their flaws).
If the situations above sound familiar, it’s time to re-assess your “familiar” relationships. Naturally, there are times when some excuses might be acceptable, but only if they don’t point to a recurring pattern.
An unaddressed problem will eventually impact your own performance so it’s best to deal with the issue head-on. Most issues don’t resolve themselves, and people will push the limits if they think they can get “away” with things.
RESOLUTION: Meet with the person(s) and re-state your requirements (or your disapproval), in a professional setting and manner, so that there is no room for conjecture. Set clear expectations to drive clear results. Discuss the problem instead of avoiding the problem.
Besides the situations above, there is also another aspect of familiarity that can be equally damaging.
All of us have those trusted advisers, peers, or subordinates, whose opinions we have come to value, either for their insight or for their influence with others in the organization. These partners can become the first person(s) we talk to in the morning to start our day, or to recap our progress at the end of the day.
If you find yourself always factoring in others’ opinions, hearsay, or assumptions that might not be true, re-calibrate your thoughts. Keep in mind that others have their own strategic and personal objectives that may not coincide with your own (especially peers). Remember that information is helpful, but following your gut is more critical.
RESOLUTION: When those habitual conversations alone decide your priorities and/or monopolize the voice in your head, it’s time to break the pattern. Just getting a little distance from any such routine can bring you back to yourself.
Close relationships are valuable tool in an organization…just make sure they work for you, and not against you.