Bob tells his concerns about his manager Mabel to Suzy.
Suzy goes to George (Mabel’s boss) and tells him about Bob’s concerns about Mabel.
George tells Jennifer, his peer, about Bob’s concerns about Mabel.
(Oh, and rumor has it Carrie, the new girl, a peer of Bob, is worried about Mabel too.)
Jennifer and George decide to have lunch with Bob to hear him out.
After lunch, Jennifer sends a blanket email to the entire management team about how to be better managers. Though the details are such that Mabel is kind of wondering if this is directed at her.
Jennifer also goes directly to Carrie to assuage any concerns she might have, which results in Carrie now having concerns she didn’t have before.
Mabel goes directly to Jennifer to ask her if the email has anything to do specifically with her. It is then that Mabel learns of Bob’s concerns. And she struggles a bit upon hearing that Jennifer and George had lunch with Bob without including her in the conversation.
Mabel goes and talks with Bob, with a slightly unnerved tone that this all occurred behind her back. It takes them a bit to diffuse the moment and remember they’re on the same team. They then figure it out. And she asks him with a humble, slightly hurt tone, “Why didn’t you feel comfortable coming to me directly?” And requests that in the future he comes to her directly next time he has a concern.
Carrie is now left wondering about how communication occurs in this organization.
OR Another Way:
“Hi Mabel, it’s me Bob. Just wanted to see if you had a minute this week where we could touch base. I’m a little concerned about X and would like to work together to figure it out.”
Which way do you choose?
(BTW, if you’re Suzy, strongly encourage Bob to go talk to Mabel.)
And PS, if you’re looking for more tangible tools and tips, check out Culture Works. Also available on Amazon.