Remember when you were on the ball field as a kid playing some team game like volleyball or kickball. Remember that kid who would always end up in someone else’s playing area on the pretense that he/she was just going after the ball when everyone really knew he/she considered they a better player and just had to “save” the play. That kid grew up and is in business at many, many companies, working right beside senior management teams, in product design engineering groups and becoming entrepreneurs. Only instead of being a real nuisance on the ball field, they are now disrupting business and impeding progress.
We see it all too often; the person who is OUT OF POSITION. Some do it on purpose. But mostly the person out of position was gradually and unintentionally placed into a job they are not ideally suited for. Marketing people end up trying to be engineers. Engineers end up trying to be marketing people and everyone tries to be an overpaid salesperson (thinking that if THAT guy can do it, it can’t be all that difficult!). For various reasons, how the person got into the position appears to everyone to be a complete mystery. One thing is certain: the impact is significant and the whole team suffers.
As leaders and senior managers, we are required to know our strengths and weaknesses and hire and retain people who counter our shortcomings. The path to self knowledge is difficult and circuitous. Not everyone makes the journey. Some end up trying to perform tasks without the business or technical acumen to make it successful. They may know they lack the skills and are overcompensating for it by being overbearing and confrontational.
The old saying “it is important to know what you don’t know” is critical with “out of position” workers. Getting them to acknowledge this creates a path to better performance. Creative freedom facilitates this transition; not necessarily in the OOP person but in the team as a whole. The more constrained the atmosphere the more opportunity for OOP conduct.
You may think that creative freedom and facilitating a creatively “loose” organization is counterintuitive to OOP behavior. I disagree and see the reverse in our clients. The establishment of a creatively open team forces the members to gravitate to what they are best at. Creativity is founded in acumen. It may look chaotic and disorganized but each member is contributing from a position of personal strength.
OOP-infected members can be either overbearing dominators or unknowing well-meaners. Either can disrupt progress. Open the freedom floodgates and put these people back in their place. You’ll be happier and, I can assure you, they will be happier.
The future belongs to those who prepare for it today. As we stand at the dawn of the AI revolution, we must