This week has been a very interesting week. I initially thought I would be able to take the day off on Labor Day, but that wasn’t the case. Why? Work.
An organizational project I worked on for a small nonprofit normally would take three hours to complete. However due to the emotions and personalities of organizational leaders, the project took over 20 hours to complete. Thereby consuming my weekend and holiday.
To make a long story short, there was a miscommunication between two organizational managers – one at the organization where I work and the other at a small nonprofit. What could have been handled in a more professional way resulted in several long, drawn-out emails and texts with both sender and receiver expressing their opinions. While both managers were busy emailing and texting their side of the story, work can to a complete halt, time was wasted and miscommunication grew. No one bothered to take a step back and realize where the shift from being productive to being unproductive had occurred. More importantly, a situation between two managers impacted five other people.
According to McShane and Glinow, there is a disconnect between professional values and emotional behavior. Situations may prevent or discourage people from acting consistent with their values and cause them to respond with negative emotion and personality. While reading the lengthy emails and texts, I couldn’t help think that the code of professionalism took a back seat to emotions and personality. However, there were a few things I learned from this experience.
First, management seemed to believe it was OK to behave in an unprofessional manner. Instead of speaking directly to each other, management continued to send emails and text messages that were full of opinion, emotion, but devoid of fact. Second, productivity shifted as a management issue trickled down and affected the team. As a result, momentum dropped and efficiency declined. Third, during the email and text message fiasco, management was unable to clearly and concisely give instructions. This action left everyone wondering and creating a negative opinion of the work.
This is a theme I have seen repeatedly. In my experience, the expectation placed on staff are different that the expectation management has for themselves. Often, management is able to display negative emotion and personality. This raises the question of how managers hold themselves accountable, especially when their emotions and personalities are counterproductive to the organization. What systems are put in place to make sure that when we speak of organizational culture, behaviors, emotions and personalities don’t get in the way.
Submitted by Shirmel Hayden