Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Coordinate, Consult or Defer?

A failure to coordinate is often cited as a cause of conflict in the workplace. One party forges ahead and does not bring another person, team, department or organization into the loop, thus triggering animosity and distrust.

Even zealous coordinators, however, may blunder by coordinating when they should defer. Some subjects are clearly within the jurisdiction of another unit. No matter how much one may creatively craft a connection, there is none in substance and the best thing to do is back off.

This can extend to offering advice as well as taking actions. Even gently telling another department head how to handle a particular action within his or her department may be regarded as an intrusion. Although the advice giver may regard the matter as small, the advice receiver may reason that if the giver thinks it is appropriate to advise on minor items, then larger ones might not be immune from such meddling.

That's why the old triage of what's yours, what's ours, and what's mine is so important to determine if positive working relationships are to be fostered.

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