Elephant in the room

The CEO is a tyrant.

The Boss has the management skills of an axe murderer.

The Board of Directors is as effective as a bowl of roasted cashews.

Might be time to speak truth to power? And if you’re thinking the same thing, you may be the one that has to do it.

And you may be asking why. Why you?  You’d probably prefer to go back to middle school and stand up to the queen of the mean girls.  

What if you endanger your job?  What if someone gets mad at you?   What will people say?  What if you do nothing?  

Here’s why it has to be you. Because you see the problem. And it’s because you see the problem, that it’s time to put on your super-cape and take some action.

But let’s make sure you have all the tools you need to have a successful mission.

Coach me quick tools for Speaking Truth to Power:

  1. If you’re dealing with a bully, muster up the courage to push back a little.  You don’t have to match her tone, but take a chance and “up the ante” a bit.  Start by doing this in situations where you are alone with her as opposed to challenging her in front of others.  And make sure you stay calm and have your facts straight.
  • If you’re dealing with a leader who avoids conflict and doesn’t seem to notice that the department, project or company is falling apart, request a meeting.  Be prepared with one or two challenges that you see.  For example; person A will not talk to person B anymore, this is greatly influencing productivity in these specific ways (and list them.) If possible, provide a solution that involves the leader taking action and request that he does take action.  Don’t fix this for him. Keep it short and sweet and don’t blame.  You can always ask for another meeting.
  • If you’re dealing with a magical thinker. Start asking more questions if she is setting deadlines and budgets that are unreasonable.  Instead of saying why you think something won’t work, ask her how she sees it working.  And drill down until you get enough detail to understand her vision.  

In all of these cases, there are “elephants in the room.”  Your job is to:

  1. Make sure the people in power see the elephant,
  2. Make sure the people in power know that you see the elephant too,
  3. Make sure the people in power start dealing with the elephant.
  4. Make sure you stop cleaning up after the elephant.  

You are a super-hero!