Archives August 2015

Boy I Don’t Like that SOB in Accounting – 5 ways to Manage That Guy You Can’t Stand!

A few years back, I hired a person against the wishes of other people on my team. I was sure he had the right skills and experience and hiring the usual suspects hadn’t gotten the results I needed & wanted so maybe it was time to be disruptive.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I liked him either. He wasn’t kind or diplomatic in his comments. He simply wasn’t likable.

I tried to focus on the content of what he was saying rather than the way he was saying it, and I coached others to do the same. I also invested time in helping him understand how he was coming across and coached him to alter his style. My attitude toward him never really changed but he slowly started to fit in and began achieving results.

What if you don’t like someone on your team?

Can you be a good & fair boss to someone you wouldn’t sit with if you had to share the last seat on a bus with?

The presumption is that your job would be easy if you liked everyone at work.

Life would be easy if cats slept with dogs and Mom’s kisses made boo-boos go away, but that’s not reality nor is it what’s best for you, your team, or your company.

You have to accept the fact that this person is not going to be your BFF.

The real test is: Are they doing good work? Are they achieving results?

The employees you gravitate toward are probably the ones you want to go for a beer with. You need people around you who can challenge you with new insights and help propel the group to be better.

Like the Boy who said the employer had no clothes people like these can ask the hard questions and, maybe, can stop you from doing something stupid.

Here’s how to get the most out of someone you don’t like:

1. Make it about You first – It’s important to learn how to handle your frustrations: Figure out why you are reacting the way you are by asking the following:

  • Is the problem really with the individual?       Does the person remind you of the miserable old aunt or that first awful boss and now he or she can do nothing right.
  • Do you see this person as a threat? If your direct report constantly interrupts you, you may react strongly.
  • Are they a member of a group that I have a problem with? You need to be honest with yourself about any hidden biases you may have.

2. You have to put on a good face – Everyone wants their boss to like them. Whatever your feelings for your employee, he will be highly attuned to your attitude and will presume that any disapproval has to do with his performance. As the Boss, you are the adult in the room, and it’s up to you to be fair and respectful.

3. You have to seek out the positive – No one is 100% annoying. It’s easy to see the worst in people who bother you. A boss of mine once said that no one comes to work hoping to do a crappy job, so assume the best about how they can help your team.

4. You have to keep your bias out of the way – When someone irks you, you need to be especially vigilant about keeping your bias out of the evaluation by asking: “Am I using the same standards that I use for other people?”

5. Sorry to tell you this, but you have to spend more time with that guy – This might sound like the last thing you want to hear, but it might help to give yourself more exposure to the problem employee. Sometimes over time, if you work together, you may come to appreciate them.

Have you ever been the victim of being a Board of Directors member or supporting staff?

Boards of Directors have been the subjects of many conversations lately. A close friend working with an agency that funds & supports not-for-profits told me that Board of Directors/Executive Director relationships are at an all-time low. Simultaneously I am hearing from more and more people who are disappointed with their involvement as Board members.

Why? In my opinion, there are a couple of reasons for this:

  1. Recent Federal legislation impacting Charities have raised the legal & fiduciary responsibilities of Boards and individual Directors. Therefore, people on Boards of Directors or considering joining a Board of Directors are taking that role much more seriously: and, rightfully so!
  1. Charities want to grow and expand and therefore are recruiting high-potential members to do that very thing. The very nature of those Board of Directors members causes them to question and make demands of the organization. This often rubs the senior staff person the wrong way.
  1. The CEO/ED is, in fact, the Board’s employee. YES … Employee! And I bet $100 that most Boards of Directors and most CEO/ED’s are not truly aware of what that means or the implications of that employee/employer relationship.
  1. The ED/CEO is often the founder or ‘founder-like’ of the organization. They put their heart & soul into it, and when the Board of Directors asks questions or challenges the staff person’s position, it becomes a very personal matter … emotions take over, and problems ensue.

The Point?

Boards of Directors should be considered the same as any team of the organization. To be certain, they are an important team as they are, or represent, the owners of that organization. The ED/CEO needs to understand that they are an important part of the organization, but they are not the ‘Owner.’

The Board of Directors must understand that they are the ED/CEO’s boss and must act as such. There are litanies of examples where that employee/employer relationship is so poisonous that the organization is put into peril. Boards have, sometimes, treated the ED/CEO is a manner that would never fly in the Board Members place of employment.

The Board of Directors and the ED/CEO should be like any other high-performance team. They should be competent, coordinated, collegial and focused on an unambiguous goal. And, to ensure High performance the Board should maintain a laser-like focus on the following aspects:

  1. The Right Role
  2. The Right People
  3. The Right Agenda
  4. The Right Information
  5. The Right Culture

Oh yeah, each member of this Team, volunteer or staff, should realize that they are not Hunter Harris and a group of activist shareholders taking over CP Rail; get over themselves; and, focus on what is truly important … the health of their organization and the people they serve

If this was of interest click here, read my thoughts about engaging volunteers