Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Management Should Push Folks Until They Push Back
Using this technique, a manager hopes to discover the following:
- How much work the subordinate can handle
- How well the subordinate handles pressure from above
- Whether the subordinate can be trusted to manage his/her own workload
- Whether the subordinate has the courage to say "No, I can't do that"
Subordinates generally don't like this technique, especially when they learn that it is a technique. Many people, especially inexperienced people, feel a duty to accept whatever a manager dishes out. But managers respect those who know their limits and are willing to admit them.
As a subordinate, the best way to deal with a manager who uses this technique is to keep careful track of all the commitments being made, and when they approach the "undoability" level, talk about them with the manager. Don't get upset, don't try to do everything being asked, and don't quit without first trying to negotiate a reasonable amount of work.
Whether this technique is a good one is debatable. It is tough on subordinates who don't know how to deal with it. It is manipulative. But it can help managers determine what their subordinates are capable of, and to what extent they can manage themselves.
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