Apr 12 2011






When you undermine those


who work with you, YOU


become less effective. 



Entrepreneurs, small business and professional practice owners and managers are notorious for undermining the people they work with. They’ll ask a partner, associate or employee to handle a certain task or make contact with someone in their absence, then –an hour or two, or day or two later– will turn around and do it themselves.


Sound familiar?


I’m reminded of one of those yea/boo stories [I need a bucket to bail out the boat (boo!); ah, here’s a bucket I can use (yea!); oops, my bucket has a hole in it (boo!); the hole is in the top (yea!) . . .].


When you ask someone to do something and then whisk the job away because it wasn’t done the way you would do it or because it wasn’t done as quickly as you wanted — or worse, maybe it was already done, but instead of checking to find out, an assumption is made that it wasn’t, and the task ends up being needlessly duplicated. 

Besides that such actions are looked upon unfavorably by both internal customers (employees, investors, referrers, suppliers, lenders, advisors) and external customers (purchasers and consumers) and are considered highly unprofessional in business circles . . . the behaviors persist.

By pulling the rug out from under someone you’ve charged with a responsibility, the likelihood is great that you will also have managed to ignite fuses of discontent, frustration and neurosis.

Not to mention the not-worth-it losses you’ll suffer in credibility, respect, and reputation. 


I know personally of two employee shooting rampages attributed to having “assigned responsibilities” prematurely withdrawn, or arbitrarily reassigned. 

When you as a leader empower someone (or set someone up to become empowered), be extremely clear what needs to be done, and how (assuming there’s no room for interpretation or alternate approaches), and by when. Then go away. Don’t disenfranchise an individual that you’ve just enfranchised.

“Well,” you say, “this sounds good, but nobody else does stuff as effectively as me. If I don’t ‘ride herd’ on those I give assignments to, they’ll never get done.”

Are you really saying that you don’t trust those you’ve partnered with or hired? Is what you mean that you think you’re better than anybody else? Is what you mean that you like running around like a maniac, putting out fires?

Are you really saying that under all these pretenses, you simply don’t trust your SELF or your own judgment?

This may sound embarrassingly obvious,

 but worth the risk of mentioning anyway:

When the kinds of carelessness

that start fires to begin with,

are eliminated to start with,

you won’t need to start with

being a firefighter. 


Maybe it’s time to consider corporate life, or a job with the Post Office? Most towns have openings for roadway cone placement. Nothing to undermine. Think of all the stress you’ll spare yourself.

Entrepreneurial leadership means–among other things– that you need to trust those you’ve trusted to work with, to get the jobs done that you ask them to do, and go about your business of growing your business instead of wasting your time and energy, and everyone else’s. 

Think twice before you delegate. Make sure you are delegating to the best person to get the job done under the circumstances. Make sure you explain carefully what’s needed, and by when, and how much room there is to determine methods and techniques for getting the job done. Set “How Goes It?” follow-up plans. Trust. Walk away.

When you undermine others,

                                                you’re really undermining yourself.

# # #

  931.854.0474   Hal@BusinessWorks.US

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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May 28 2009


Mind Over Undermine


     At some time or another, every business and professional practice boss discovers a hired or inherited employee or group of employees whose sole mission appears to be to undermine operations—from manufacturing to customer service/patient care to administration to sales.

     Sometimes it’s vindictiveness, jealousy, bitterness, resentment…all good stuff, right? Sometimes, though, it’s naivety, ignorance, immaturity, misplaced loyalties, or just plain stupidity. While the reason might be important to uncover, what’s most important is to act on the discovery before it has chance to fester.

     If it’s too late to contain the infection from spreading out and affecting others in your organization, it may require you to rise to the confrontative occasion and call for all the cards to be put on the table. This, however, is not always the best solution.

     Why? Someone who may have been undermining you or your business or practice may be truly innocent of premeditation, or was perhaps unwarily acting out someone else’s issues. In that situation, you could be pulling the plug on someone who is a valuable potential asset to your operations or reputation.

     This may be the right point, instead, to pull in a professional to facilitate differences and/or re-train problem employees, or to counsel you on how to do it, or to force the situation to a head on your behalf. At any rate, it’s certainly worth the time to discuss the circumstances with an outside consultant before making that decision. 

     Prepare a short bullet list of issues and individuals involved with your own assessments of how effectively each performs in the roles for which they/he/she were/was hired. Try to keep your comments as objective as possible so as not to prejudice an outsider’s opinions, but articulate your issues and concerns clearly.

     Make your mission clear, and make your goals for each position that’s involved clear ones. In the process, look to your self as well, and question what (if any) contribution your own statements or behaviors may have contributed. Ask your consultant for a straightforward, unvarnished opinion and recommendation.

     Decide when, where and how to act, and what to say. Be receptive to whatever responses you provoke, and assess those in private. In the end, you will have given enough time and energy to the situation to justify moving forward from the point of implementing your decision. Then move forward.     

# # #

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Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116 

 Open minds open doors.

 Thanks for visiting.  God bless you. 

  Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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