Last week I asked you to ponder, “If crossing organizational lines is so destructive, why are they so common?”
Besides the lack of awareness of the negative impact, which we thoroughly explored in the first two parts, there is an epidemic deficient skill: the ability to manage your employees and managers.
Managing your employees is difficult. Managing someone with people reporting to them is even more so. You want to know what’s going on with their people without directly talking to those people. If you don’t have that information, the tendency is to unconsciously chat with them directly, crossing organizational lines causing the mayhem discussed in parts one and two.
So how do you do this? With powerful question asking and listening skills. I teach these every week to Clear and Open Members, but here’s a simple question you can use. Ask the manager who reports to you this question about each person who reports to them:
“How is X employee using their job to grow as a person and how are you helping them?”
Then listen for how specific the answer is. Anything less granular than something like, “Jane is using the detail orientation challenge of her job to slow down and pay closer attention to what’s happening around her. She’s been digging out of chronic overwhelm and is realizing more and more how much she’s been missing, like not answering direct questions people ask her in emails.”
Managing your employees is difficult. Therefore, people avoid it. Therefore your managers are very likely to be pretending to truly manage their people. The only way you’ll find out is to ask hard questions of the people who report to you.