Are you Promoting or Poisoning?

By Mac M. Martirossian

Electronic communication tools have replaced the water cooler as the place for most of to “present” our point of view.  Of course, each time we do so, we have an opportunity to take two distinct courses of action—support or destruction.

It is easier to tear down than to build…ask any construction engineer.  Building requires planning, having support beams in place, putting the right accent pieces to highlight the features of the structure.  Destroying an idea, a person or an organization requires nothing but a few words.

Management is about making decisions and in this context, at each interface with peers and direct reports, making a choice.  Here are some points to ponder in those interactions:

  • Refrain from venting downstream.  A top favorite for many managers is to take a direct report, or a group of folks one or two boxes lower on the org chart and lash out at what is wrong with the company or their boss.  Serves no purpose, since there is nothing any of these groups can do to fix the problem.  Only one way to vent—upstream, or not at all.
  •  Stop feeding negativity.  It is so easy to join in the rock throwing.  Another favorite activity is the morning coffee in someone’s office, where those present can start at one end of what is wrong with their place of employment and finish when….the boss arrives.  Serves no purpose, but everyone feels better afterwards, and the poisoning process starts over the next morning.  In lieu of feeding the negativity search for an answer to fix the problem. 
  • Take sides for the right reason.  We yearn to be loved by those around us.  We falsely believe that the masses will follow us, if they like us.  Leadership in management is not about popularity.  It’s about being right based on the right facts.  Sometimes the customer is right, other times the employees and maybe, just maybe, once in a while, the company is right.  Be strong and don’t fall prey to the wrong side.

Here is a challenge.  Look for opportunities to promote something positive that your boss or company is doing.  Expand to one a week.  And, when someone speaks against what you believe is right, defend your ground.

Be the best manager you can be and remember that PR, represents the first two letters of PRomoting.  Engage in it regularly.

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