Submitted by adryad on
I work in an environment that is in a great deal of flux, and will continue to be for at least the next 18 months. As a result communication is not great. Too many fingers in too many pies and everyone giving different direction.
I am a a high 'C', but have developed my 'D' and 'I' in an effort to function more effectively. I report to a sky-high 'I', who is always out and about giving direction to not only my direct reports, but theirs too (which I wouldn't have a problem with except much of direction is conflicting and not conveyed to anyone but the person she's speaking to at a given time). Typical of a High 'I' everything comes out with the impression that it needs to be done now and is a high priority. In may ways we're a great team, but I feel like I'm forever running pillar to post, putting out fires and trying to get straight answers. I feel like I'm unable to devote enough time to any one thing to do it well. (For a high 'C' , lack of clear, consistent communication/data, having to spread focus over a multitude of tasks/issues that I'm not directly responsible for, managing everyone's frustration without expressing your own and being expected to accomplish everything now, is the perfect storm. Disaster may be imminent.)
As a High 'C' I like to focus on one thing at a time and do it well. I can't do that in my present position and environment, so how do I get on track (since I can't manage those above me). I feel like I'm failing my boss and my people and can't stand feeling scattered and ineffective all the time.
Do you have your priorities on your schedule?
From your post: "but I feel like I'm forever running pillar to post, putting out fires and trying to get straight answers. I feel like I'm unable to devote enough time to any one thing to do it well."
The one thing you have control over is where you focus your time, effort, and action. Do you have your priorities on your schedule, so they get uninterrupted time? Have you made clear to your directs that they are your directs, and they should take the high-I's directions and relay them to you to get a fuller view? Check out the "My Boss Skips Me" podcast for more discussion.
Remember that this crazy phase will pass, and you just need to hold on long enough to get there.
Houston, Texas, USA
The cast linked above covers
The cast linked above covers what you can do. I'm curious, though. Are there specific events you can think of that you're wanting to avoid? Specific bad results you've seen as far as the work and the team? Or is it the stress factor and that things aren't running in a way that suits your natural style?
I only ask because, as you describe it, the problem here isn't the results or the quality of the team. At least I don't think. The issue that kept coming up was how you feel about the situation. You're uncomfortable and stressed because things won't 'tidy up' so to speak, there's a lot of environmental chaos. I'm a high C myself, so I can relate. My below advice isn't going to be in the MT style (it's not behavioral) because I don't feel like I have enough information to suggest behaviors. You didn't talk about any specific events that have gone awry. But maybe it will help.
No matter how structured a company, department, or team you're always going to be a small boat in a seemingly chaotic sea. You're going to get rocked all over the place by the environment, whatever that is. Even if you move up you'll probably end up with (relative) control equal to or less than you had before because you're jumping into a bigger ocean. It sounds depressing at first. But it's really not. You've always been in that situation even when you felt good. The main difference is what you had accepted as external/environmental, and what you felt was your domain. Maybe you should focus on re-framing things, redefining in your mind just what your domain is, instead of changing the situation that (at least as far as I can tell) is working. Once you've classified those things as part of the ocean it might ease the mental load.
And on a side note, you've got a boss paying attention to your people a lot. That's a great tool to get your people developed and promoted. I'd say that's a pretty great place to be.