Ops manager Bill had a row with his Sys-Admin team leader John. Bill had asked John for a deployment to be done by the end of play today and he refused. John is always delaying things, it’s not that John is slow and Bill does recognise that sometimes John has some really creative ideas, but when Bill asks him to take action, John always delays. Bill is finding this intolerable and is considering disciplinary action.
Then a friend introduced him to a coach who used a personality profiling tool. The results begin to explain why the conflicts occurred.
Bill‘s profile shows his natural position is to focus on the task and to make it happen now. Making things happen is how he goes about
his work, he is an action orientated manager. More than that, his external and internal motivators are also centred on getting the task done. It is therefore not surprising that when others appear to delay action, he gets frustrated. Bill knows he has to sort out today’s critical issue, even if it means having a bigger problem next week, after all, there might not be a next week if we don’t act today.
John’s profile shows his natural position is focused more on the impact of actions on people as well as how the task fits strategically. John is naturally creative and will think through the options before taking action. John knows that the future is just as important as today and will always choose to delay if he believes that his team will have a bigger mess to clear up next week as a result of hasty action today.
These two profiles have considerable creative tension between them and account for much of the ‘do it now’ versus the ‘do it right’ battles. Both views are valid and actually complement each other, but without understanding why and how they can work together, Bill will eventually decide that John is always being difficult and will need John to move on.
In turn, John will see Bill as short-termist and not caring about the impact of his decisions on the team, which is translated to, ‘does not care about his team’. It is the team that always has to sort out the mess of Bill’s thoughtless insistence on immediate action.
With help from the coach, the fires between Bill and John were put out and they learnt to understand and value the differences between them. Bill now uses John’s creativity to get ahead of problems, bringing action forward and changing the order of actions. This reduced the number of times actions became critical. John now knows that sometimes Bill needs action now, but can explain to the team why it’s now and how they can sort the quick fix out later.