Dealing with Difficult People: Stop Sleeping On It - Decide!

One issue that comes up in Staff Satisfaction Surveys is the frustration with some managers and the inordinate delay that it takes to get a decision from them.

Staff complain of being faced with “Let me sleep on it” for even simple decisions that should fall within the manager’s authority.  Many employees throw up their hands in frustration and stop making suggestions or making requests. They believe that they will get nowhere and to add insult they are going to be asked to produce loads of seemingly irrelevant information.

Should they comply with the request to complete needless forms they then witness at first hand the paralysis of analysis. The process of analyzing any and every bit of information is so consuming that any thought of decision making and taking action is excluded.

So to preserve their sanity the Maintenance crew shelves asking that the bearings be replaced in a timely manner and the machine grinds to a halt. The Operation Manager sees an avenue for cost savings but fearing being buried in paperwork with little guarantee of approval, he files away the idea in the back of his mind.

These are stark realities that are crippling productivity in many organizations.

These developments are usually linked to an over-active use of what is classified as C-Style behaviour.

Recall the D-I-S-C Behavioural Styles: 


The rumour that Cedric was seen proof-reading the photocopies against the original is clearly not true but it highlights the C-Style desire for perfection and the need to minimize errors at all cost.

I also do not believe that little Calvin was actually counting the centipede’s legs to see if there were actually 100 of them.  The point these mischievous story tellers are seeking to make is that individuals with a preference for C-Style behaviour require accuracy, compliance to standards, careful planning informed by rigorous information gathering and adherence to documented procedure.

Unlike their D-Style colleague who is willing to venture and “make their decision right”. Cedric is totally committed to the process of making the right decision - however long it might take to get to that point.

Cedric points out in his defence that if there is not enough time to get it right the first time, where will we find the time to clean up the mess and then do it over?

So having pulled out your last strand of hair is there anything else that you can do?

#1. Accept that your manager is cautious and wants to avoid mistakes.

#2. Buy into the fact that error-avoidance is not a bad thing.

#3. Recognize that your manager is driven by information. With perfect information we can make right decisions.

#4. Identify the information that is required for sound decision-making and work to provide it.

#5. Feel free to suggest the need to proceed with imperfect information if the missing pieces are not available and the cost of further delay makes it unwise to wait.

#6. Study the type of information that is requested and the format in which it is desired so that you can move ahead of the game and avoid delays.