A reader writes:
I’ve received an odd state of affairs taking place with a male employees member on my crew. I’m his boss and a girl. We’re comparable in age (I’m a few years older), and he has extra expertise in particular areas of his work than I do, and I’ve extra experience in different areas of his job description. When he brings concepts or recommendations to me about areas of our work the place he’s clearly extra educated, I all the time reply with “nice concept” or “I by no means would have considered that — so glad to have your experience on this space,” and so forth. Nevertheless, after I make recommendations about methods he may develop or develop within the areas of his tasks the place I’ve extra experience and data, he’ll continuously reply with one thing akin to “I’ve already considered doing that precise factor in that precise method and simply didn’t inform you but.”
He doesn’t reply this fashion 100% of the time. For instance, if it’s an space we’re each a bit in the dead of night on and dealing to determine one thing new, I don’t get the “you’re not telling me something I hadn’t already considered” response to recommendations. It occurs principally after I’m suggesting methods to take a venture additional or make it extra impactful. However it’s taking place typically sufficient that I’m noticing the sample and feeling aggravated by it.
After I get the “I already considered that” response, I can’t assist however suppose he’s mendacity. Whereas he does have good concepts, I’ve needed to have two conversations with him previously about his productiveness ranges and my want for him to take full possession of tasks (he’s in a director-level place). He tends to examine bins and simply obtain the duty whereas not, in my commentary, absolutely partaking along with his work.
After I take into consideration why he’s responding this option to my recommendations, I think about it’s certainly one of two issues: he’s feeling known as out for not pondering by means of a venture extra absolutely earlier than bringing an concept or a request to me or he’s devaluing my experience and expertise. He’s not rejecting what I’m suggesting, simply ensuring I do know he had gotten there on his personal. Perhaps there’s one thing else happening?
I do know the one option to know is to ask him, however I’m combating learn how to handle it or if I even must. A part of me thinks no less than he’s taking my recommendations and implementing them. Who cares if he wants to inform me it was his concept, not mine? I’m safe in my place, have the whole belief of my boss (a person), and any undervaluing my worker could do is contained. If it’s a difficulty with my gender, I’ve different, extra vital issues to take care of than enlightening him. But when I’m doing one thing to make him really feel that he has to make it clear he’s on the identical wavelength or there will probably be penalties, I’d wish to cease doing that. That a part of me doesn’t need to really feel that I’m stressing him out and inflicting this habits as a coping mechanism or method he feels he must handle me.
If I do want to deal with it, how? I’ll by no means get him to confess he’s not considered this stuff earlier than me or on the similar time (he 100% hasn’t), and I don’t even care. I simply need him to really feel okay with taking a suggestion and saying, “Positive, I’ll do this.”
Oh, I labored with this man! And sure, it’s actually annoying.
In spite of everything, it doesn’t actually matter if he’s considered each suggestion you make if he hasn’t acted on it or raised it himself (or isn’t prepared to elucidate why he determined to not). And yeah, you’ll be able to often inform when somebody is simply saying it to prop themselves up (though paradoxically, it has the alternative impact of what they intend and makes them look much less succesful than in the event that they hadn’t tried to say they already had the concepts).
I do suppose you’re proper to grapple with whether or not it’s one thing you actually need to deal with or not. I lean towards pondering you must, as a result of (a) if he is reacting to one thing about the best way you’re managing him, it’s price figuring out that (except it’s simply that you simply’re, you realize, managing him whereas being a girl) and (b) for those who’re proper that he’s BS’ing you, it ties into the bigger issues you have got about his work — that he’s not approaching a director-level job with sufficient rigor and engagement.
So one possibility is to simply say straight the following time he does it: “I’ve seen after I recommend methods to take a venture additional or enhance its influence, you inform me you’ve already considered these concepts. I don’t care a lot whose concept is whose or who thought it up first, however I need to ensure that I’m not doing one thing that makes you are feeling pressured to guarantee me you’re already there?”
Alternately: “I’ve seen after I recommend methods to take a venture additional or enhance its influence, you inform me you’ve already considered these concepts. If that’s the case, nice — however I’d like to see you operating with these concepts by yourself then earlier than I recommend them. What do we’d like in place to make that occur?”
Associated to that, it is likely to be attention-grabbing to say one of many subsequent occasions it occurs, “Oh, nice! Was there a purpose you hadn’t tried it — do you have got issues about doing it that method?” It’s a little bit of a entice for him as a result of, assuming he hadn’t actually thought it by means of earlier than this second, he’s not more likely to have an amazing reply. The purpose isn’t to entice him, although; it’s to assist him understand that claiming he had your concept first isn’t a “freebie” because you’re going to then ask a probing follow-up about it, and so there’s a draw back to that response that he may not have thought-about.
You additionally may strive asking for his concepts first earlier than you provide your personal … which presumably will make it more durable for him to then reply with “already considered it” when you do provide yours.
However I believe you’re proper to be aggravated, and likewise that your stage annoyance is calibrated appropriately — it’s not the most important deal on the earth but it surely’s odd, and it’s most likely a mark of One thing Larger.