Self-Help Desk asks the experts to give advice on soft-skills, office politics and dealing with work-related stress.


Every time we have to present a proposal to a senior executive he sends us back to the drawing board until we come up with something that was basically

his idea in the first place. Some staff have gone so far as to pitch one or two bad ideas they know he will reject, but I don’t feel I should have to play reverse psychology. What should I do?

For some people being in charge of all the decisions and proposals that are made in an organization is important and necessary. If the senior executive you are working with is like this, it is wise to invite them to share their ideas at the onset, so they are left with the feeling that they are in charge — of both the project and workplace. This in the long run will save everyone time.

For some people it takes several times, or a period of time, before they are convinced that their staff have demonstrated competency in their job. Others are never convinced and the staff need to prove themselves each time. This may be frustrating for some staff, but once you know what is important for the senior executive, it is easier to work with his style then against it.

In order to create an approachable workplace, you need to know your own outcomes, remain flexible, be perceptive and take action immediately. Being open will allow you to reach your goal rather than have to play the game you do not wish to play. As an excellent communicator you will be able to sell your ideas to the executive and be able to move projects forward, for quicker approval.

Always remember to evaluate the ego of the senior executive. It may be very important to him and to your future with the company.

Monika B. Jensen is a principal of the Aviary Group, specializing in conflict management, alternate dispute resolutions, diversity, change management, harassment prevention, and investigations. Send questions or problems to @itbusiness.ca with “”Self-Help Desk”” in the subject line.

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