There’s a fellow manager at work who’s a train wreck and they don’t realize it. How do I help someone who’s clearly not organized but who thinks they’re doing fine?
In general, trying to change another person’s behavior tends to:
- Frustrate you
- Annoy them
- Have little or no effect on the bothersome behavior.
Here’s my best advice for dealing with OPD: Other People’s Disorganization
Tip #1: Realize that the one who has to change – is the one who feels the pain
If you’re affected by this manager’s disorganization, your energy is best spent finding ways to get what you need rather than change what they do.
This might mean, for instance, giving them a list of your weekly needs (in a nice way, of course) and following up each afternoon.
Work out what you need in order to do your job and focus on asking for that.
Tip #2: Model the benefits of being organized
Although people don’t often respond well to unsolicited advice, they do tend to notice when someone else has what they want.
Being happy and organized yourself is a great way to sneak under this manager’s radar. Then, if they ask you how you’re so organized, you can offer to help.
Tip #3: Accentuate the positive
At heart, we’re at least partly susceptible to positive reinforcement from our environment.
Showing sincere appreciation when your colleague does the things you need for your job could help encourage the organized behavior you want.
As long as your appreciation is genuine and not manipulative, you can feel fine about conducting a little behavior-shaping experiment of your own.
Michele Connolly, www.getorganizedwizard.com