How to deal with nattering nabobs of negativity?
August 22, 2007 10:23 PM   Subscribe

How do I reverse the negative attitudes of my employees?

I am a fairly new manager. I was promoted to this position from within my current company.

I've been charged with developing a 3-5 year plan for my department. Having been in the position of my current employees, I know it is important to them that they have a say in the direction the department is going to take.

Today, at a department meeting, I asked "where would you like to see our department in 3-5 years."

My more experienced employees proceeded to share all the reasons that we'll never be able to do anything because we don't have the resources or support.

I stressed that I would like to fight to get more resources and support, but in order to get that, I needed to be able to go to upper management and say "we need more resources and support so that we can achieve these specific goals." I asked what those goals should be.

The same experienced employees then repeated all the reasons why we'd never be able to do anything, though they added that they'd discussed all the things they wanted to accomplish before and didn't want to discuss them again because nothing ever came of it and it was a waste of time.

I said that they may have discussed this all before, but I had never heard these discussions. I pressed them to share with me some of the goals they've previously pursued that they didn't get to achieve.

They asked the former leader of the department, who now works under me, to just give me some of the documents they worked on. They continued to repeat the reasons why this was a pointless exercise.

After the meeting, the two newest employees came over to me and shared some great ideas about where they'd like to see the program in 3-5 years. They are excellent goals that we can achieve.

I knew coming into this position that employee morale was a major issue. In my first year on the job, we accomplished a bunch of things that they didn't think were possible. Despite this, it seems like the years of disappointment they experienced under the previous manager may be insurmountable. I hope not, though, because I see great potential for our department's future.

What are some things I can do to reverse these negative attitudes?
posted by Joey Michaels to Work & Money (39 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Pick one thing discussed, say you're going to do it and then get it done! That might help. If not maybe use the ignore method and listen to younger employees?
posted by citron at 10:28 PM on August 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

The expert sees only one way to do something, the beginner sees hundreds.
posted by kanemano at 10:32 PM on August 22, 2007 [7 favorites]

A couple things to do:

Bring in a nice lunch. Then have a discussion of "What would we do if resources weren't an issue" and ask to hear what resources would be needed. If the negativity is brought up, firmly remind them all that this is a wish list type process. Not so much as you can do this, but it will surface the ideas. It's the ideas you are looking for here.

If you think you are going to get even more pushback, work with your boss to 'make it an order' that you deliver something on deadline. Best if your boss, or someone up the food chain delivers the 5 minute "You all are smart and I need your help' speech to the group then leave, leaving you with a clear mission that the entire team needs to deliver.

An alternative is to walk into the meeting with a list of the available resources, labor, capital, etc. and say, 'What should we build if they gave us this much and let us choose what we wanted to do?' Again, you are not looking for actionable projects, you are looking for ideas.

Boost morale a bit with some sort of event. I like stuff like Eagle's Flight which are business tuned, rather than the let's go see a movie and drink beers. Professional training and motivational companies can be good at busting up the bad morale for a bit to give you a chance to improve things.
posted by Argyle at 10:47 PM on August 22, 2007

You may want to grab a copy of Zapp! The Lightning of Empowerment: How to Improve Productivity, Quality, and Employee Satisfaction.

The book is actually quite thin and easy to read (you can finish it in a day). It offers an interesting approach to dealing with negative and unmotivated employees.

(I hope this doesn't sound like I'm advertising.. I just think it's a great book)
posted by skwillz at 10:51 PM on August 22, 2007 [3 favorites]

Talk is cheap.

People are usually disillusioned for a reason.

If you can actually achieve something you might overcome it. Work out what the simplest, easiest thing that has been suggested is and actually get it done.
posted by sien at 10:58 PM on August 22, 2007 [5 favorites]

If they don't think they can accomplish anything, why are they still working there? The obvious answer is that they are perfectly content to get paid to accomplish nothing and occasionally bitch about it. It sounds to me, in other words, like your department has accumulated a lot of dead weight. You may well have some trimming to do.

Letting people go is one of the hardest things a manager has to do, but I think you need to take a serious look at replacing some of the worst nabobs with fresh blood. You said it yourself: your two newest employees have the attitude you're looking for. If the more seasoned people can't muster any enthusiasim, the simplest solution may be to replace them with others who can.
posted by kindall at 11:04 PM on August 22, 2007

Every employee is different with different motivations. You need to sit down with each employee you manage and find out what their goals are and find a way to align those goals with the team success. Workplaces employees with negative attitudes are usually so because employers don't take an active interest in the individual. Often their goals have nothing to do with the job at hand because they lost the passion for it long ago. Your job is to find out what they are passionate about right now and figure out how you can connect it to the job you need they to do. For example - if an employee has taken an interest in sailing you can offer them an opportunity to take off early every Wednesday to go sailing as long as they spearhead 3 new ideas on how to improve things. Show them that you care about the things they find most important and you will gain their loyalty and before you know it - a renewed interest in the job.
posted by any major dude at 11:17 PM on August 22, 2007

1. Try listening to them. If they keep bringing all these things up it sounds like they feel nobody is listening to their opinions. Hold another meeting where they can air their grievances and let them talk themselves out. Then start asking for more specific comments.

2. Try to hide your contempt for them a little better. It sounds like you regard your minions as pathetic, whiny losers who don't deserve the privilege of your leadership. You're almost certainly not hiding that as well as you think you are.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:18 PM on August 22, 2007

The new employees haven't been burned before. Their suggestions need to be taken with a grain of salt, however, because they don't have the experience to know what truly has to happen in the next 3-5 years -- if they did, they'd be the manager, not you.

The old employees have been burned, not just by past promises broken, but by you being promoted instead of them (and your previous boss demoted! Talk about buzzkill!) so they've got tons of expertise, but no desire to share, and no reason to believe you'll make anything different. In the case of the manager dropped below you, s/he probably actively wants you to fail.

If I were in your position, here's what I'd do -- but remember, I'm just some random guy on the internets.

1. Use your own personal experience in the department to identify a single problem area you'd like to tackle. Make it something significant, but not so big and important that failure will be noticeable or success will take tons of time and money. Low hanging (but juicy) fruit, in short.

2. Talk to your bosses and say "The most important change that has to happen in the department is change. There are problems to fix, some big and some small, but the rest of the team has made it painfully clear to me that the biggest problem we have is a perceived inability to create change for the better. So rather than try to boost morale artificially or reinvent the team from the ground up, I want to pick a few pieces of low-hanging fruit that will marginally improve the team, and that will also show the team that change is possible." Then present the first target (which you selected in 1 above.

3. Talk to your team in the next meeting after that problem has actually been addressed and say "By the way, guys, since nobody's given me specific problem areas they wanted me to target, I've taken on a few of my own. [the problem you picked] has been dealt with. I've got a few more things in the pipeline, and I'll let you know if they pan out." Then change the subject.

Repeat until your old team members start believing change can happen again, or until your new team members are experienced enough to contribute useful -- as opposed to enthusiastic -- suggestions.

In short, fuck 'em. You know what needs to happen, or at least you know enough individual line items that need attention to keep you busy in the short term. Stop asking your team to do your job for you, because they're too new/too old to do it. Grab this puppy and run with it, making sure you:

1. Never claim you're doing it "for the team" or any such garbage;
2. Never claim you're doing great work;
3. If a fix didn't take, admit it;
4. If a fix took, downplay it.

Be a real, proactive problem-solver, and over time your team will come to you. Meanwhile, you're on your own. And watch your back with that ex-boss of yours.

Oh, and while you're waiting for the team to come around, cater a late breakfast once and a while -- nothing expensive or hokey ("hey, let's cook our own breakfast!") or designed to get them in the office earlier, just occasional random muffins and such. Something to occasionally and unexpectedly lighten the mood a bit.
posted by davejay at 11:32 PM on August 22, 2007

By the way, I'm not trying to belittle your employee's concerns -- I'm not a manager, I'm an underling -- I'm merely suggesting that you stop letting your employees be an impediment to you (and vice versa) and just get on with making things better in the only ways that matter:

1. Making genuine improvements happen (large or small, with no ego tied up in it);

2. Feeding people randomly for free.
posted by davejay at 11:34 PM on August 22, 2007

They told you what they want. You weren't listening.

Get the notes they (repeatedly) asked you get from the last boss. Use those to develop an action plan. Show them that you take what they say seriously, because right now you're ignoring everything they've said.
posted by cali at 11:50 PM on August 22, 2007 [4 favorites]

Put another way:

"I said that they may have discussed this all before, but I had never heard these discussions. I pressed them to share with me some of the goals they've previously pursued that they didn't get to achieve....

What are some things I can do to reverse these negative attitudes?"

Stop asking people to repeat themselves. Again. They've had this conversation and it resulted in failure -- they don't want to have it again just because you're the New Sherriff in Town. Making them go through the process again would give any reasonable person a negative attitude.

Grab the notes. Use them.
posted by majick at 12:14 AM on August 23, 2007

they'd discussed all the things they wanted to accomplish before and didn't want to discuss them again because nothing ever came of it and it was a waste of time.

Consider ... maybe it IS a waste of their time. Two thoughts...

Maybe they've never managed their time well on a day-to-day basis, and see hours-long brainstorming meetings and any attempt at long-range planning to be a superfluous luxury. What are they doing right now?

Moreover, a detailed three- to five-year plan is nuts in just about any business. At most, it would be one sheet of paper covering the broadest of goals. And this is what a chief executive is for, not rank-and-file employees.

So ... what's the plan for this quarter? What's the plan for this fiscal year? Ostensibly, this department is burning resources today, tomorrow and next week. Is that well planned?

Perhaps the reason these employees are so resistant to spending time on charting the future ... is because right now is nebulous and unmanageable?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:20 AM on August 23, 2007 [2 favorites]

Who's the ringleader of negative? Usually, it's in everyone a little bit to get defeatist, but someone has to go around fanning it for it to really catch on. You need to get that person to cooperate. Easier said than done - what exactly you have to do depends on the person and the methods that work for you. Beg them, befriend them, bully them hoffa-style, whatever. Your job will become much easier if they are on board, or at least agree that shooting their mouth off isn't helping anyone.

Also, Nth that their suggesting you look at notes from previous similar meetings was a non-subtle rebuke that you didn't do your homework before going in there. Try again with an agenda. "I'm told that two years ago, you were complaining about X. Is that still the case? What if I did Y [thought up before the meeting], would that help?" You want input, not for them to have to do all your thinking for you. That's why you're the manager. They don't get paid for that crap.

Show some evidence that you've thought about it. Otherwise it looks like exactly what they think it is, a worthless going-through-the-motions meeting.
posted by ctmf at 12:48 AM on August 23, 2007

Don't mean to be snarky here, but maybe they are frustrated that you are trying to get them to do your new job for you. Rather than grilling them and compiling their ideas into a nice, neat report for your higher ups, what if you brainstormed various scenarios and lists of goals and asked them for feedback on what you come up with?

"What are some things I can do to reverse these negative attitudes?"

Lead them, work for them, inspire their confidence. Then they will work with you.
posted by QueSeraSera at 12:50 AM on August 23, 2007

You could sucker them.

Suppose, just suppose, it went like this:

You: So you figure there's no point in doing this whole setting goals thing?
Them: Oh, definitely not.
You: Well, then, I guess I'm screwed, cause the boss wants something. I have to make it look like I'm trying.
Them: Well just make something up.
You: Ehh... like what?
Them: Doesn't matter. Anything.
You: You mean like... [completely ridiculous suggestion. Not at all likely to be accepted by boss.]
Them: No, no, no. More like [not completely ridiculous suggestion. Might be accepted by boss.]
You: I don't know... maybe...
Them: Or, you could tell him [Even more realistic suggestion. Quite possibly a goal they actually would like to pursue].

And so on.


Figure out one thing they want. A coffee maker. A piece of software. Any damn thing at all, even if it's small or silly. Get it for them. Act like it took no effort at all; you just snapped your fingers and, presto, there it was. They'll start to think "Hmm... maybe she can get stuff moving. Now, how could we take advantage of this? Well.. just the other day she did say she could get us resources we wanted..."
posted by Clay201 at 1:01 AM on August 23, 2007

A lot of times these things become self-feeding environments. The Group gets a negative attitude, which soaks into the individual employees' attitudes, which then soaks back out to the Group. It's hard to improve the overall morale in big meetings because you're one person going up against their shared frustrations.

If you have good one-on-one skills, try to break your employees off from the pack and win them over individually. This will accomplish two things: some of the employees (if you sell it well) will bring your optimism and confidence back into the fold. In addition, it'll be easier to find people who are negative by nature rather than just good folks in a dysfunctional situation. Then you can take appropriate steps (minimizing their role, or seeing them off altogether).

posted by Riki tiki at 1:14 AM on August 23, 2007

You may notice that the employees with the most seniority are the ones who come in, put in their 8 hours, and don't do anything out of the ordinary. They're not bad employees, heck, they get work done, but they're not going to help push the department forward. Why should they? What reward is there for doing something extraordinary, or even somewhat progressive? These guys have seen the promises and the grand schemes come and go. And oftentimes they're stuck in a rut - which will give rise to negativity.

Reward initiative, and you'll get it. Produce results, and they'll help you get them.
posted by azpenguin at 1:50 AM on August 23, 2007

It isn't "bad attitude" to give one's honest opinion about workplace matters when one's boss asks, unless you want to foster a culture of insincerity. Frustration and even hopelessness over past failed efforts at turnarounds is an honest opinion.

It is your job to come up with a plan and with individual employees' respective roles in that plan, and their job to cheerfully implement once you do. If they fail to do so, then you might fairly say you have an attitude problem.
posted by MattD at 3:46 AM on August 23, 2007

The seasoned employees have probably been through this talk with every new manager they've had in the past. It's incredibly common. And little ever changes.

Blame the negative nabobs and fire them? Well, that'll make everyone just feel a lot better (sarcasm) about the corporation.

Corporate culture is a huge thing to try to change. If you think you can change things for the better (from your employee's point of view, not the board of director's view), then more power to you. If you really feel you can change things, then make 1 good change. You already know what some of the problems are. Fix one if you can. Then you'll get their respect.

I've occasionally encountered a good new manager. They were good because they were genuinely caring about their people. But for the most part a new manager meant just a new droning voice at the weekly status meeting. And the work went on regardless.
posted by DarkForest at 3:53 AM on August 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Show them results.
posted by loiseau at 4:00 AM on August 23, 2007

What are some things I can do to reverse these negative attitudes?

Get them resources and support. That's easy. You're the manager, you figure out how. That's your job. If you can't, what the hell good are you to the department?

They asked the former leader of the department, who now works under me, to just give me some of the documents they worked on.

So, get the documents and read them, and learn how and why the department has been burned in the past.

Alternately, you could fire some people for negativity. That would guarantee that people would make a show of being positive while you were around as the better employees assembled their resumes to jump ship.

After the meeting, the two newest employees came over to me and shared some great ideas about where they'd like to see the program in 3-5 years. They are excellent goals that we can achieve.

Again, go and read the documents. Are these excellent and achievable goals that the larger firm shot down six years ago? If you don't know, what the hell are you doing trying to come up with goals if you don't even know what the immediate history of your department is?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:12 AM on August 23, 2007

No offense, Joey, but I've worked in organizations like the one you describe. Negative attitude, young new buck of a manager brought in to get things rolling. The new guy picked everybody's brains for the first month, even had some of us write down priorities and goals for him, then proceeded to ignore all our advice and side with the very person who had caused the negative atittude in the first place.

You've asked questions, and they gave you answers. Nthing the suggestion of reading the documents provided. If you want, identify a couple of people who have the corporate backstory, take them out for a quiet coffee and get the scoop. If you do this, be sure to turn your bullshit detector on full-blast!

But in the end, set a course, assign the work to your team based on skills and abilities, and get it done. And when it's done, tell your higher ups in front of your employees what a great contribution they made and how the team really came together to get the job done.

Nothing contributes more to a positive attitude than a feeling that your work is making a difference and is being recognized.
posted by LN at 5:26 AM on August 23, 2007

I wasn't there, but I'd venture to guess that the primary source of the negative attitude was feeling like they weren't heard the last time this happened. They probably put a fair amount of effort into the task and when nothing happened, they assumed that it was because management didn't actually care. Therefore it was a waste of time and any attempt to do it again is also a waste of time.

Get the notes, read them, digest them. Look at them and try to find out what would and wouldn't work in the current climate. Review it with the group. If it's reasonable overall, here's what you do:
  • Draw out milestones and the steps to get to each.
  • Make sure that the team is aware when a milestone has been hit
  • For resource allocation issues, when you need to cobble up a document requesting resources, pick someone to help you look it over before you send it off
  • If you're going to a meeting to boulder throw over resources, invite a team member along - and it's OK if they decline
  • Celebrate the victories as they happen, briefly and genuinely
The idea is to try to involve them in the process of their own success or to see that resource allocation isn't necessarily your fault. They might not lose the negative attitude, but they will trust you to be on their side.
posted by plinth at 5:44 AM on August 23, 2007

Metrics! There is no amount of employee negativity that can't solved by cold, hard numbers.

In your situation, you'll want to know How Long Does It Take To Do X? If it takes 30 minutes to process a TPS Report, then you can make it your department's goal to reduce that time to 20 over the next year. Ask your employees what they think they need to achieve that goal. Explain to them that this is how you can get additional resources for them, by showing your bosses the benefit of said resources. Bosses like numbers too and would be more likely to free up some scratch if you can show the improvement in productivity and quality of service.

Set milestones for productivity with rewards at the end. Is the average time per TPS Report down to 25 minutes? Great! Pizza on me! We hit 20 before the goal date? Champagne! It's really hard for process-oriented workers to get a sense of accomplishment, so one of your roles as a manager is to fulfill that need.

Your older employees will be suspicious of time tracking and for good reason. It's a change to how they do things, and worse, is a change that can rock their boat. They are right. But as a new manager, it's sometimes hard to tell the older employee who is so damn efficient that she gets everything done within her allotted time and the one who is just punching the clock until retirement.

Never, ever set up a meeting to brainstorm suggestions as to improve service. These always, always degenerate into kvetching and are a demoralizing waste of everyone's time. Instead, as said above, start the meeting with "This is what we're doing now, here's where we want to be, and here's how I think we will do it. Any thoughts?" This is brutally autocratic and will not win you friends. Reinforce that your door is open for suggestions and feedback and act with brutal efficiency upon any feasible suggestions you receive, even if it's "just trying something out." Because you have gathered baseline stats as to how long things take, you can then evaluate whether or not suggested changes are actually successful.

You don't have to be a stat ogre to make this work. You just need to get your staff to recognize that it's numbers that drive the department, numbers that provide the basis for evaluation, and numbers that provide justification for increased resources.

Also, having numbers on every single facet of your department makes you look like a kick-ass manager to your boss which could be a big help for your career.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:50 AM on August 23, 2007

(BTW, please don't have them do weekly status reports. That's usually another item that new managers do when they realize they can't keep track of what's going on, and that the employees should solve that for them.)
posted by smackfu at 5:55 AM on August 23, 2007

"Also, having numbers on every single facet of your department makes you look like a kick-ass manager to your boss which could be a big help for your career."

I'm going to have to point out that while this advice is really, really great for "managing up" in the sense that your bosses are going to love you and you'll feel like an effective manager, following it is going to have the exact opposite effect of improving employee morale. It sounds like the department in question already feels collectively abused and ignored. Asking them to play what amounts to a rousing game of "Justify Your Existence" is absolutely not going to improve negative attitudes

Follow that path at your own peril.
posted by majick at 6:18 AM on August 23, 2007

What gets rewarded, gets repeated. Don't reward negative behavior with attention or time. Reward positive behavior.

Generally, and especially in established companies, there's an entrenched culture. You can't change it with words alone.

You've asked for input. Get the lists from the previous manager, and consider the previous suggestions, keeping in mind that people probably have copies and it's obstinate not to share that information. Mine shared drives for meeting minutes and plans, etc.

Be the manager. From all you can gather, use what's valuable. In the absence of useful suggestions, create your own priorities. Assign tasks, and hold people accountable. Have regular meetings, not necessarily weekly, and ask for progress reports. At those meetings, you'll get some requests and suggestions. Act on them. If the staff were good at the big picture, they'd be managers. It's your job to have the big picture and tell them how to make it happen. Listen to them constantly, and revise the plans as they feed useful information back to you.
posted by theora55 at 6:26 AM on August 23, 2007

Asking them to play what amounts to a rousing game of "Justify Your Existence" is absolutely not going to improve negative attitudes.

Yeah, that can hurt morale. But if the department feels ignored by upper management, then a round of "Let's Show the Bosses How We Kick Ass in a Language They Understand" can be really helpful.

To clarify a bit, time spent tracking should not apply to people so much as it does to a process. You need to track the amount of time it takes from input to output and focus on how to improve it. For example, I don't really care if my employees surf the net or take a few extra minutes at lunch, provided that their throughput times match an agreed upon standard for the department.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:32 AM on August 23, 2007

Call the meeting again, maybe under a slightly different name or pretext. This time start with the youngest employees, let them give their ideas in public.

Be ostensibly taking the proposed goals down, on a whiteboard or somewhere everyone can see them. Like "Jim: Wants to extend the beta frobnitzer to a 9-month range. Pete: In 2 years we will be at 83% foobaz accuracy."

Then go to Steve, who wouldn't set a goal at the last meeting. Write "Steve: " on the board. If Steve doesn't come up with something, then Steve's name on the board says "No goals."

They'll get the picture.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:24 AM on August 23, 2007

You're not going to make much difference unless you can find out why nothing worked in the past.

Did the prior manager fail to make a case for the changes, or did upper management simply ignore things because they don't really care? Was it something else entirely?

Without knowing why something is broken, it's awfully tough to fix it -- you'll just be taking shots in the dark. It sounds like your employees think upper management is to blame -- that you are irrelevant to the problem, and irrelevant to the solution. But that's just a guess. So find the real answer.
posted by aramaic at 8:28 AM on August 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

One or two radom firings.
posted by Futurehouse at 8:42 AM on August 23, 2007

You're not going to make much difference unless you can find out why nothing worked in the past.

aramaic hits it squarely on the head.

Personally, it sounds to me that the department veterans have a well-honed knowledge of how things really work in the company. They're like the sergeants on the front lines and the OP is the fresh-faced lieutenant with no battle experience.
I think the OP needs to talk seriously with the veterans and get their views of how the company works and what they see as the real impediments to improvement. Hell, they'd probably love to get some improvement going. I'll bet they've been smacked-down for trying to make improvements in the past, too.

All this talk of simply canning the veterans, or pitting the vets against the noobs is just a recipe for further lowering of morale.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:55 AM on August 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Oh gosh. You sound like my managers (three of them) at a previous job. Good on you for getting in there and trying but the negativity is there for a reason. Aramaic and Thorzdad are perfectly correct.

Let me give you an example and see if this sounds familiar.

I move into a new department and start from the ground up. We have a new manager and a lot of experienced staff. New manager gives us all bright shiny goals to work towards. As the newbie, I find this exciting and work my arse off towards said goals. Veterans, who have seen this all before, work towards goals, but with slightly less force due to overwhelming burden of cynicism. New manager is fired for unrelated issues.

New new manager turns up with more bright, shiny goals - amazingly similar to original ones. I give my view on the current goals and work I've been doing. Receive pat on head and am promptly ignored. Work starts - FROM THE BEGINNING - on new new goals. Manager leaves.

New new new manager turns up with some more of those frikkin' goal thingies. I am now a veteran and we all give somewhat jaded responses. We are ignored and work starts - from the beginning once again - on new new new goals. I quit. Current incumbent of managerial position quits soon after and runs away to China.

It's important to realise that nothing was actually accomplished during all of these meetings except the generation of bright shiny goals. Carrythrough is important. Find the original goals. Listen to the veterans who have seen it all before and find out why nothing was done. Chances are, it's corporate structure or corporate culture rather than a lack of expertise or motivation. Changing that is VERY hard.

Sit down with your crew and try asking "How do we change this place?" rather than what you're asking now which is "How do we change you?". Chances are there's nothing wrong with them at all.
posted by ninazer0 at 3:11 PM on August 23, 2007

Thank you all for your input. Based largely on what I've read here, I sent this out to my colleagues today:
At yesterday’s meeting, I asked for input into a 3-5 year plan.

I realize now that that was something of an insulting request and for that I apologize. Many of you have immediate, legitimate concerns that need to be addressed before we can work together to plan for years down the line.

To this end, I would like to meet with each of you individually (at your convenience) to listen to your concerns and start formulating ways in which we can address them.

Please let me know when you would be available for a 30 minute meeting in the next week or two.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to meeting with you.
So far, the response to this has been excellent. Attitudes may take years to change, but this is a start.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:32 PM on August 23, 2007

In my opinion that is not only an excellent, but a downright awesome response to the situation. Recognizing your error (making your immediate planning assignment "their problem" without dealing with their actual problems), actually apologizing for it, reprioritizing in light of their input, and then working with them to take actions they care about: these are all part of what I would consider a nearly perfect response.

I would be surprised if the response to such a rare thing were not excellent.
posted by majick at 5:54 PM on August 23, 2007

Well done, Joey.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:30 PM on August 23, 2007

Oh nice...bonus points for individual meetings, because you're more likely to get an honest response. The key now is that carrythrough - even if you have no actual reply, just touch base with your people to let them know you're still working on it.

Go forth and conquer!
posted by ninazer0 at 8:01 PM on August 23, 2007

Read The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Partic Lencioni. Really great book addressing these sort of team dynamics and what needs to happen to turn them around. Its written in Narritive form, so its entertaining and a quick read. Highly recommended.
posted by jpdoane at 10:16 AM on August 24, 2007

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