Q: We are having some pretty conflicted times at work. I have tended to blame certain individuals for bringing drama into the workplace. While some employees certainly are drama kings and queens, I am beginning to wonder if this is really an issue of leadership? As a manager, whenever I try to talk to my boss, I just get snapped at. I think he is pretty burned out. What to do?
What to Do
A: Dear What to Do:
Whether conflict is at work or in the family, it is usually most helpful to look at the broader picture. That brings up something called “Systems Theory”. While Systems Theory can be pretty complex, the basic premise is a bit more understandable. Rather than just being concerned about specific problems (thought important), perhaps is best to take a systemic approach. As an example, our body will typically get along just fine when we come down with the flu. That is unless the entire immune system is compromised. People who die of the flu usually have a deeper systemic problem.
If your boss is “burned out” this could be evidence there is a greater systemic issue in the organization. Remember, your department is also part of the larger whole system. What if you could get your boss interested is a conversation concerning the broader needs of the organization. The issue at hand problem may be at your department level, but perhaps it would pay to look at the broader picture.
Having said all this, it would helpful for you, as a manager, to having a trusting relationship with your boss. Perhaps you might try to ask him pertinent questions regarding anything you may do to “make his work easier”. Then hold on and see what comes your way.
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