Dropped Ball – Your Move
When projects at work start to spin out of control and nerves fray, things can go terribly wrong. Balls get dropped. But do they have to hit the ground and crash?
Not at all.
It depends on your type of organization. It varies based on a company’s culture and how seamlessly the team works together. Does everyone respect and understand the contribution of each teammate? Or does the company consist of mostly silos; “I don’t know or value what you do and couldn’t care less.”
Co-workers generally fall into three camps…those who:
Stand by and watch the ball fall as if nothing is happening. They give a side-glance to the ball streaking toward the ground knowing it will end in a thousand crashing pieces. Turning a blind eye on the project, they act innocently as if there was nothing they could have done to help prevent the catastrophe. “Not my job. I’m fine over here.”
Watch the ball smash on the ground & point fingers. Not only do they view it as not their problem, they actually go out of their way to watch other people’s projects hit the ground and disintegrate. They take keen interest from afar hoping things go wrong to make themselves look better. And finally, making sure to point out to everyone whose fault the disaster was and how stupid theywere that they let that happen.
Dive for the ball as if their life depended on it. This rare breed almost has night vision and can sense when the ball is teetering on the brink. And it doesn’t matter whose ball it is. Instead of letting the project take a free-fall, they jump into action. They dive, reach out and do what it takes to help keep the project from going down with a thud.
Look around your organization. Whose eyes roll when things get dicey? Or who steps up and jumps in to make a difference?
Dive for the ball no matter whose it is.
It could be your pet project heading for the ground next and some extra, unsolicited support just might help save the day.
Congratulations on the promotion! Another rung up the ladder-more responsibility, more money, managing more people and a bigger badge. Yep, badge.
Look at it like a detective’s badge that they pull out when identifying themselves that immediately establishes that they have the power. Managers have badges too, although not a gold shield but the total sum of your words and actions. The bigger the badge, the more impactful those words and actions.
And people wield and handle the badge differently. The new, and sometimes not so new, manager may use it like a sabre. “Because I said so”, “I sign your checks”, “Do it or else”.
Some learned by example that once promoted to managing people, you can let it all hang out. Show ‘em who’s boss. Flash the badge. It’s what you do when you’re in power, right?
What is misunderstood is that the larger the badge (position), the more weight your words and actions carry. You have to be more careful as you move up the ladder as to not abuse the power given. Publicly call someone out or put them down and the result can be devastating. Discount their ideas as they are presented in meetings and be assured ideas will stop coming. Because the badge-holder’s words ring loud and clear; “I have all the answers and don’t need yours”.
And the most insidious thing about the badge is many times the badge-holder doesn’t see the problem at all. You’ll hear things like “I didn’t mean anything by that”, or “I was just kidding-everyone could see that”. No they don’t. Sarcasm isn’t a language those with a badge should use as people can take you literally. Because of what you do and the position you hold, everything is magnified.
Both bad and good.
A well-placed compliment from someone in authority can make a person’s day/week/month! From the badge-holder’s perspective it may appear to be ‘no big deal’ but to the recipient it is a very big deal. Use the badge for good!
When carrying a badge, be careful as you think out loud. The casual comment about considering another door in the conference room can bring out a team of workers tearing a hole in the wall that afternoon. ‘It would be nice’ is heard as ‘get it done-today’!
The really ironic thing about a badge is that the holder may be speaking in the exact same way, with the exact same tone as before they got the badge. It’s the gravity of their words and actions that have changed.
Build your team through personal power and leave the position power of the badge in your pocket. They know you’re the boss – you don’t have to shine a flashy badge to prove it.