That Guy

I’m sitting in an office with the CTO of a Fortune 500 firm. The phone rings. He glances at the caller ID and says, “that guy, he only calls with problems. I don’t want to answer it.”

Who could blame him for not answering, really? Who wants another problem another complication in their busy day? And yet …

There were two big takeaways for me from this interaction.

First, don’t be that guy. Don’t only share your problems – with anyone!  This happens when we get over-focused on the urgent issues of the moment, and we develop patterns that overly limit our communications.

Second, as the senior leader, encourage your staff to share successes with you. To talk to you about the important but non-urgent questions, concerns, and successes. Here are three ways to do that effectively:

Schedule time for it – start your one-on-one meetings with important, non-urgent topics. The urgent ones will come up too, just later.
Model the behavior that you want – initiate the call and talk about something non-urgent
Have a conversation with your team about expectations – they are trying to take care of you by limiting their interactions.

“That guy” thought he was protecting the boss’s time. Instead he was harming his career and relationship.

Karen Walker

Share this article on...