Chief Lightening Rod

Lately, I’ve been feeling more like a lightening rod than a linchpin (see other Linchpin posts).

It is amazing how we all perceive things so differently.

Often I’m sitting at my cube minding my own business (which is normally in 15 minute increments with all the interruptions) and out of nowhere will come “learning emergencies.”

A few examples as of late:

Sharing Information – in an effort to share with people that aren’t involved in an initiative that I’m working, I sent out a detailed email basically saying – “Hey, you aren’t involved, but I thought I’d share ALL of our ideas, information, documents, etc.” I was kind of excited about sharing. In fact, I assumed that all would come back saying

“Yea, great ideas. Let me know if you need help. Keep sharing. How can I join?”

I did get one such response, a day later.

The initial response was less inviting and of the caliber of

“Why don’t you have every part of our team represented?”
I see you only want us to be involved 5 minutes here or 5 minutes there.
“This doesn’t seem fair, we are all a team.”
“Oh, it seems like you don’t want us to participate.”

For the audience of this blog (me) and for the record, I had spent a good 30 minutes crafting the email so that it would send the right message.

Obviously, I needed 45 minutes.

Micro-managing vs. Hands-off – So, part of my job is to manage a contract. Not the contracter, but the contract. However, I’m into partnering, teaming and the like. So, I figure it is my job to help them succeed because then we succeed. Fairly simple formula. When I started managing it I started to set ground rules for interaction with the contract. People didn’t like it.They complained, but didn’t provide any better ideas.

So, I stepped back. I made sure they didn’t think they were micro-managing. I asked for feedback at the appropriate times. Most of the time no one gave any. But, when they did it was either in the heat of the moment or saying everything was hunky-dory.

Then, I would find out that they didn’t feel like they could give feedback or that I wasn’t asking enough. Or, I’d find out about a major issue after the fact and people would wonder why I hadn’t dealt with it.

I’ll admit, it is a little hard for me to assimulate through osmosis what the issues are at times – especially if I’m not trying to micro-manage.

Which way do you want it folks – micro-managing or hands-off? I’m not good at doing both.

P.S. When I talk about the “people” in this case, I am talking about two people out of the 40 that I interact with in relation to this effort. Interestingly, these same two people had issues with the “Sharing Information” section above. I am good at seeing patterns and I’m sure that it is evident here.

These two examples alone have taken up about 15 hours of this past week of 60 hours of work. I can’t afford to have these issues take up this much time. It sets me up for more issues in the next week.

However, one thing is clear:

My communication skills  = Chief Lightening Rod

At least for this week.

Looks like I’ve got some growing to do.

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