Misuse of talent is nothing new in business. Short-sighted managers will often throw work at their direct reports without considering whether or not the work matches the talent. This is an unfortunate practice for urgency-laden bosses managing their to-do lists — by just sending tasks directly to their supports. For the support individual this can be a source of confusion and frustration since they have been told in the past to focus their talents in designated areas, for example developing new business, but then they are given tasks that are outside of this area of focus. This lack of integrity (saying one thing but doing another) on the leader’s part, costs organizations in productivity, money, and time. Global Creatives with their proficient fire-fighting skills can be an appealing target for these inefficient managers.
“I’m in a bind!” the thinking goes. “Who can get us out of this tight spot?”
The Global Creative’s ability to problem solve on the spot and hyper-focus till the situation is resolved makes them a valuable resource. The opportunity to tap their master responder and save the day can make the ADHD person an accomplice to this crime of inefficiency. On the inside, the Global Creative’s brain can relish the intense dopamine, adrenaline boost and corresponding ARC effect they get from having a clear directive drop into their laps. Meanwhile the actions (and reason) the Global Creative was hired, are languishing. As Quad II items, they can easily be pushed to the next day. Come evaluation time the same boss will wonder openly why the employee is not getting time on developing new business!
What To Do
We Global Creatives can use our inner entrepreneur and associated values to effectively manage upward.
Hold the Vision
Get clear on your own vision for success and the associated entrepreneurial values like freedom and independence – that putting in the time on developing new business will create freedom and independence to choose what to focus on in the day.
Get clear on the vision and mission of the organization and reflect this back to your myopic-in-the-moment boss. Instead of being reactive let the request be more of an informed choice.
Pay Attention to Efficiency and the Bottom-line
Be stingy with your time and make sure to protect the actions that really count when evaluation time comes around. Point to the need to focus on applying resources strategically and not just to fighting fires. It’s easy for Global Creatives to get spread too thin. Limit scope and aim to complete valuable actions every day.
Brainstorm the problem proactively and positively. Shift complaints:
From – Why do we need all of these meetings?
To – How can we exchange important information more efficiently?
See the Big Picture
Share insight into how to solve the bigger organizational challenges that contribute to urgency in the first place.
Practice Innovation with Your Time
Innovative engagement is not just being a master-responder. Bring an innovative approach to this challenge. People are predictable and bosses are no different. Get creative with how you allot your time and plan your most important work for the times you know the boss is unlikely to stop by.
Practice Courage and Resolve
Human behavior suggests that we tend to avoid interactions as the potential for conflict increases. Avoiding the boss to avoid receiving unwanted work only works for the short-term and does tremendous damage to a key relationship. Meet unrealistic requests head-on with courage and resolve. Don’t shy away from a fight if their is an opportunity to clarify responsibilities and create a win/win situation.