Monday, August 25, 2008

Respecting Turf

As one supervisor, with tongue in cheek, put it, "Don't yell at my staff. That's my job."

Fail to respect turf and you can, regardless of the merit of your message, lose allies and power. Boundaries exist for a reason and people expect, at the very least, to be consulted before those lines are crossed. Some common turf transgressions are:
  • Passing on important information to someone other than the top official.
  • Sending action items to a lower ranking person in that person's group.
  • Excluding people from meetings that clearly relate to their area of responsibility.
  • Inviting their employees to events or meetings without first obtaining their permission.

Any action that may convey a message of disrespect or indifference should be avoided. You may think this is no big deal or that you are saving time and not messing with formalities. Ignore turf, however, and you'll quickly see time and efficiency gobbled by needless conflict.


Larry Sheldon said...

I remember the days....

But first let me try to draw a word picture so it will make sense.

I worked for A, who worked for B who worked for C who worked for D.

A Colleague with whom I was trying to get something done (a new Computer Center perhaps) worked for E who worked for F who worked for G who also worked for D.

In order to get stuff done before the next ice age I would write a letter to G for signature by C (with a BCC to Colleague) and pass it up the CoC to get it signed and forwarded.

This of course created some interesting asynchronies when Colleague would write an answer using a similar process which I then answered.

And of course, using the telephone was pretty much out of the question because ofm the turf issues,and because we were a Bell System Operating Company after all.

Michael Wade said...


Thanks for a great example! That is hilarious.