Posted by: Brandon W. Jones | January 11, 2011

Poor Leadership, Part 2 of 2

I asked a few questions at the close of Poor Leadership, Part 1 of 2, so in this post I will answer the questions and tell you how I would respond. 

As a leader, how would you have handled this situation?

I always try to be very upfront and honest in all that I do.  With that being said, the approach I would take would be very different than that of John.  When I have people come to me for help, whether it is an employee, coworker, or customer, the first question I ask is, “What is your timeline for this request?”  From there, I work with them so we are on the same timeline.

Although this request is somewhat different than a standard request, I would take a very similar approach.  I would set out a specific timeline with the employee detailing how and when I would get the information on the requirements for the promotion and then help them obtain the promotion.  I would then schedule out blocks of time to work on obtaining information on the qualifications for the promotion.  If the promotion information was easy to obtain, I would then try to figure out what paperwork needed to be completed for the promotion.  I would be sure to regularly update the employee on the progress I was making on the timeline.  That would be especially important if there were roadblocks in meeting the specific deadlines.

Once I figured out exactly what the promotion requirements were, I would sit down with the employee and go over their progress.  If they still needed to complete additional requirements, I would help them set specific goals to meet the requirements to obtain the promotion.  Throughout the entire process, I would take their promotion request very seriously, knowing that my response would impact their performance and morale as they do their job.

Did John do a good job or should he have done things differently?

John did a horrible job as a supervisor.  His employee asked for his help and he basically said through his actions, “I don’t care about you or your progress in your career; I will help you when I have nothing else to do.”  He may have done other things behind the scenes, but did not communicate anything to Dan.  Once he let Dan know he had not met the full requirements for the promotion, he did not identify any additional requirements to be completed for the promotion.  A warm fuzzy feeling requirement is ridiculous and has no value.  Even though he was new in his position, he should have made the promotion a priority and not taken six months to respond.

Should Dan have handled this differently?

I know a little more about the situation than I was able to convey in the blog, so I feel that Dan did everything within his power to get the promotion.  Dan explained to me that if he were to go over the head of John to the manager, it would probably be career suicide due to the organizational structure and culture.  He would have lost all trust with John and would be in a very difficult situation from that point forward.  If I were Dan, I would do everything I could to take on more responsibility.  After a little more time, I would ask again.  If there was still no progress, I would start seriously looking for a new job and/or go to the higher-ups to let them know that what was happening.  If Dan still didn’t get the promotion, the additional experience would be a great enhancement to his resume.

If you have additional suggestions on how you would handle this situation, please let me know.  I would love to hear your thoughts.  All your comments are very welcome and appreciated.


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