The Growth Company, Inc. Provides Management Ways To Handle The Office Darth Vader

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When companies allow, reward or promote those who run roughshod over others, they honor individualist star players who erode everyone else's morale and effectiveness.

Darth Vader has you buffaloed and won't change unless he thinks it's in his best interest.

Some company's most productive project managers suffer from arrogance and a terminal lack of consideration, even if they have attended employer-mandated sensitivity training courses.

Here's an example: "Darth Vader" doesn't check with his peers before taking actions that commit their departments to deadlines. He calls team members out in meetings, making it clear he considers them incompetent. He creates friction with peers, subordinates and support staff because he doesn't respond to emails and Outlook meeting invitations.

Because Darth Vader’s projects achieve results, he expects a raise and a hefty end-of-the year bonus. When Darth Vader is told he has to work more cooperatively with others, he says if he were in charge of the two departments lateral to him, the company would have a lot more efficiency and effectiveness.

Darth Vader’s projects are great revenue- generators so the company doesn't want to be too heavy-handed and lose him, but others in our company continue to tell me he's got to get turned around. In short, the company "can't live with him, can't live without him." So what is the best way to handle the office Darth Vader?

Darth Vader has the company buffaloed and won't change unless he thinks it's in his best interest.

Grab his attention. Because Darth Vader has no problem describing people and situations as he sees them, do the same. Directly let him know the company values his results but when weighing the friction he creates against the results he touts, the company can't reward him.

Tell him that while his results-orientation might light a fire under his former peers if the company places him in charge of them, it more likely will send them and multiple other employees running for the exit.

Some of Darth Vader’s practices make no sense and disrespect everyone else. He doesn't respond to others' Outlook notices? Why the heck not? It takes a minute to look at a calendar and respond "Accepted, maybe or no." What makes Darth Vader’s minute worth others' considerable frustration?

Darth Vader can't respond to emails because he's got other priorities? What leads him to not respond "received your email, will respond when I've thought it through if I can add perspective." Unless Darth Vader is a lone ranger, he needs to respect communications from others so they don't feel they're playing handball with no wall.

Next, when Darth Vader commits other departments to deadlines without first checking with their managers, the company needs to let him act as his peers' de facto manager. While his asking-for-forgiveness-rather-than-permission strategy meets his needs and may even work for the company, it creates havoc for others and potentially undercuts the company's total productivity.

Finally, what gives Darth Vader the right to publicly insult other team members? If the company lets him do this within its hearing and doesn't call him on this crappy behavior, the company is essentially okaying Darth Vader’s actions and allowing the company culture to sink to a new low.
What works with Darth Vaders? Senior managers who deal with what's not working, as well as what is. Bottom line -- when companies allow, reward or promote those who run roughshod over others, they honor individualist star players who erode everyone else's morale and effectiveness.

Dr. Lynne Curry is a management/employee trainer and owner of the consulting firm The Growth Company Inc. Send your questions to her at thegrowthcompany.com.

© Lynne Curry, July 2012, http://www.thegrowthcompany.com

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