Each day women are faced with difficult and often uncomfortable situations in the workplace. I was recently asked, as a MoZen Inc. coach to give my input on how I would help Nancy, the person in the example below, by a board member of ‘Rise Up Women Leaders.’
Nancy is a Regional HR business partner who manages two regions of her company. John is the operation Manager for Region 1, and he is relatively new, open to Nancy and her help in attaining his departments business goals. John loves to engage his employees and is extremely collaborative with Nancy in coming up with ways to help employees feel valuable to the company.
Bill, a twenty year veteran, is the operations Manager for Region 2, he is not open to Nancy and feels he has better things to do. Bill is not collaborative; he ignores any of Nancy’s attempts to collaborate with him. He tells her he does not care about collaborating; as his job is to make money. He also went to Nancy’s supervisor to say he does not want to be bothered by Nancy; his department is doing fine.
Nancy went to her supervisor to ask for support and guidance on the best way to work with Bill.
Nancy’s supervisor told her Bill is not going anywhere and that she either has to figure out how to work with him or maybe this is not the right company/position for her. I was asked as a MoZen Inc. coach, how would I help Nancy?
First, I would have a conversation with Nancy and ask her three questions:
1. Is your job success dependent on working with Bill?
2. Is your job success dependent on her boss’s support?
3. What are the benefits of working at a company in this culture?
There are no right or wrong answers or just one solution to any problem.
Life is not black and white; there are always shades of gray in any situation, plus we all view each situation through our current life filters. Additionally, there are multiple catalysts in any situation that move us forward or hold us back.
The goal is to understand the kind of life we want live and allow this objective to guide you in your daily decisions throughout your day. We don’t realize that the little decisions we make every day and throughout each day that dictates the type of day we have and ultimately the life we live.
Depending on how Nancy answers the above questions would determine the solution which could be one of the following actions or a combination of the three.
My Response: If Nancy’s job success is dependent on working with Bill and her boss, she can develop the skills to work with any individual’s personal style. All she needs is time, guidance and support from a MoZen Inc. coach, as her boss either does not have the knowledge or desire to supportive/mentor Nancy into her skill development. Additionally, the MoZen Inc. coach would help Nancy set life and professional goals that will guide her daily decisions and facilitate her understanding the filters she views her life experiences through today along with evaluating if they are helping or hindering her success.
The MoZen Inc. coach would work with Nancy reviewing her current concerns, her situation, the stakeholders involved, and her feelings about the situation. The coach would then ask questions to help her work through potential actions she could take and the impact of each action on stakeholders to determine the solution she ultimately wants to put into action. However, it would also depend on Nancy’s personal and professional goals.
Second, how long has Nancy had the job and what was her original reasons for taking the job? These benefits could be the job offers an excellent salary, great skill development opportunities, a springboard to an incredible job that would make it worth working for a manager who obviously is not supporting her by even offering guidance and to help her interact more successfully with Bill.
We at MoZen Inc. work with clients implementing our Next Generation MoZen Inc. coaching, which teaches them how to leverage their current knowledge and experience while removing barriers to success, which holds her back. MoZen Inc. coaching is a results-orientated systematic process that facilitates personal growth and success.
Second Question: As a leader how would you solve this challenge?
My Response: The only way to understand any complicated situation is either a 360 with Skip level interviews or interactive Leaders. Leaders who interact with employees at all levels on a regular basis in a way that employees are comfortable discussing real concerns and recommendations.
Currently, the behavior of both Bill and Nancy’s boss is impacting employee engagement, productivity and the culture of the company.
Third Question: What would you do if you were in this situation?
My Response: I’d want my company to have a good coaching program to help me understand how to assess what was happening, the impact on the stakeholders and what my options were. I would want assistance to help me develop new skills so I could handle this situation in a productive, proactive manner that benefited stakeholders.