Today’s workplace encourages widespread opinions on solving complex issues. These grassroots suggestions are critical to making some of the greatest gains. Often many leaders fail to provide that type of comfort to their employees to create an open environment for suggestions or discussion on important decisions.
On the other hand, when you do happen to create this flat structure where everyone seems to exercise their opinion, the absence of leadership can be dangerous for moving in the wrong direction. In many companies, the same areas of responsibilities can cross over with others. Respecting those lines and developing a healthy relationship is a key to building a strong work environment. These fine lines of authority can be sensitive issues when your actions are drawn out of an limited view for the entire issue.
The military exercises respect for the chain of command because of times of great stress where it can utilize the experienced judgment to respond in a quick fashion to save lives. I believe this model of respect for the position of authority has been lost in today’s society. The day where people are really respected and have worked hard to gain the experience and reputation for success are often challenged by parents, coworkers and people in general.
- We should approach problems from the point of respect for the person.
- We should give the person a chance to respond before contacting the next level.
- A human mistake doesn’t justify our poor attitude in dealing with the problem
- Attack the problem and not the individual
- Realize that in many cases the problem is often found to be in the customers failure to read and follow directions
- Be honest in addressing the problem – this will get you a quicker response from leadership.
I witnessed a situation recently in the airport where a guy from my hotel got in a cab and ask the driver to take him to the airport. What he didn’t realize was there were two airports in this town. He didn’t read his ticket and ended up at the wrong one and missed his flight. I was behind him at the terminal and overheard him said that the cab driver had taken him to the wrong place in order to convince them to help him reach his destination. The counter rep said she would be glad to sell him another seat but he insisted on seeing the top manager. I think he made three mistakes – lied about the story, treated the rep with disrespect and then skipped the chain of command and wanted a quick fix.
How do you handle customers or coworkers who show this type of disrespect or try to go over your head and go straight to your boss? Solving problems requires a great balance between being fair and meeting their need when a problem arises. How do you handle this complex issue of finding that right balance?