Jumping High for the Internal Client

Posted on 06. Feb, 2009 by in Religious Ethics

Gloria Rubaine asked:

The internal client, we all have them.   They’re our co-workers, colleagues, bosses, staff, assistants and employees.   They may be brilliant experts in their own right or not, but if they are not working for each other, the results for company, clients and staff are simply not encouraging and could be downright disastrous.

One of the greatest causes of frustration and low morale is the apparent or perceived lack of co-operation and harmony between workers, management, divisions.  What is the cause of this?

a)      Unclear job descriptions /mandate which are not complimentary to others. This leads to a wrong perception of others’ duties.

b)      Staff who write their own job description often prioritizing irrelevant tasks and going off on a tangent.   

c)      Management favouritism and nepotism.

d)      Jealousy

e)      Lack of tact and communication skills.

f)        Poor work ethics.

g)      Arrogance and narcissism.

h)      Formation of cliques and the “in” crowd.

i)        Management example and company culture.

 Let us have a look at some of the personalities of the internal client and the dynamics of why they do or do not receive customer service and support from their colleagues.

The Delegator

This individual has definite views as to what they are supposed to do.  Many tasks are considered beneath them.  For the most part, one can find this person in the management structure, a junior or middle manager but is not necessarily restricted to this level.  While delegation is an important attribute for any manager, the Delegator is a master at this and takes this to an alarming level, delegating most of the incoming workload, without any regard for the time available, skill set and authorization level of the person being delegated to.   Needless to say, if the assignment is not done well, the delegator has someone to blame it on, and if it’s a resounding success,  accepts the praise without passing it on to the real author of the assignment.   Often this person is part of the “inner circle” and has greater access to the executive level, presenting themselves as dedicated achievers.    Staff and coworkers, seeing the futility of working for or with the delegator, feel used, overworked, and unappreciated.   Why would they jump “how high” for this person?  

Eventually, the delegator is taken to task by their manager or executive, who will start to wonder what work they are doing themselves and will even re-examine the delegator’s qualifications.   Management may well end up cutting this job, at least for a while. 

The Assistant

Their job is usually defined by their direct manager.  Usually highly skilled in Microsoft office programs and other computer applications, they often put a professional face on many of the company documents both external and internal.   Normally, they are asked to participate in organizing company functions and meetings, and generally do a great job with these tasks.   Power and influence does come  to the assistant, as several administrative tasks are performed, leading to enforcing regulations, approving expense reports,  stationery purchases, etc.    By the very nature of their job, they have a close, working relationship with an authoritative figure, perhaps  a CEO or senior manager tor,  and are intensely responsive and efficient for this person, but rarely for anyone else.  

Valued as they may be,  this person sometimes develops poor communication skills, and a lack of tact when dealing with anyone outside “the in crowd”  If the assistant doesn’t like someone, then that unfortunate person will have delays and a lack of co-operation on anything that comes near to the assistant, quite often without recourse.  Their emails and written communications sometimes become unpleasant and demanding, resulting in the annoyance of the receiver, no matter who they are.

This is the tendency not only for assistants’ to directors, but also for those in Inside Sales or Sales support, wherein the assistant has a mandate to work with several people but really focuses on their boss, often going as far as re-writing their job description (unofficially), so that the rest of the company thinks that they’re doing something that they are not.  Their new self imposed job could well be make work projects with little real relevancy to their department and colleagues, therefore not attending to their perceived duties. The assistant, therefore does “jump high” but only for a small, select group within the organization who are probably unlikely (by the nature of their relationship) to reciprocate.

The Timekeeper

Arriving exactly at start-time and leaving at the official end of the working day, the Timekeeper religiously takes only their designated lunch and breaks at the official times.   Generally a good worker, attending to the day’s tasks, this person is not the one you want on your team when there is a company disaster or project in the making with crazy deadlines.   They perceive themselves as good employees and in one way they are but they live by the time stamp.  

When everyone else around them however is staying late or coming in early to achieve something important to the company and the employees’ jobs, the Timekeeper may well lose the trust and validation of their coworkers and management.   They may not have done anything wrong, but they are not seen as being passionate about anything including their company.   This personality builds a box around themselves that they are comfortable with and everyone else let’s them stay there.   The timekeeper is unlikely to “jump how high” and that attitude is universally returned.

The Politician

Ambitious and narcissistic, the politician sees themselves as a player in the organization, and makes all the correct alliances with those in management, who can fast track their career.   Everyone has tasks that are boring or unnoticeable, but this person will only apply themselves to a project that will do something for them.   The politician expects to be rewarded in some way, for everything.  Normally sociable and charming, the politician will attend every function in order to be noticed or profiled.  

Politicking is time consuming however, and the politician is often quite a delegator, taking the praise and none of the blame.  This type of person however is extremely transparent, flocks only to birds of the same feather and is perceived as self –serving. Who would “jump how high” to further the politician’s climb up the ladder?   

The Chosen one

This person is the one on the fast track, the mover and the shaker, and the one company does not want to lose.

The Chosen one always has the best assignments, the project with the greatest investment and likeliness to succeed.  They have access to the authority within the company and are nearly always one of the “inner circle”.   Wages and perks are good, and it’s perceived by co-workers as probably more.   A smart management will ensure that this person has earned a Fast Track, fair and square.

Heaven help the company when The Chosen One is not what management thinks they are.  If this person got on the Fast Track, due to sheer luck,  being in the right place at the right time, stealing someone else’s account or making another person look bad,
 many of the co-workers, sometimes in key positions, will be furious and jealous (including those that The Chosen One will have to rely on).

Jealousy is one of the most destructive emotions a human can have, and there well be more sabotage than “jumping high”.  Alternatively, if the Chosen One is a positive personality, having demonstrated their commitment and performance, they are likely to have one of the highest levels of co-operation and support from their colleagues.

The Good Guy/Gal

Ever smiling and affable, everyone likes this person.   Birthdays are remembered, and congratulations are offered.   This person is a friend, whether they are a manager or not.

There are difficulties however.   If in a management position, they may be seen as too nice, and not strong enough to enforce anything or to make the tough decision, eventually over time resulting in an ineffective manager.

The Good Guy/Gal however can get away with a lot of things.  They can easily develop poor work ethics, unofficially rewrite their own job descriptions, or in fact be just plain lousy at their job.  No one will complain about their friend and confidant.   There could in fact be quite a lot of “jumping high” .for a while…..to please, support and help this person.    The problem is that the Good Guy/Gal is not the only person in the company, requiring answers, support, help, and attention.   If Good Guy/Gal has over used the good will of colleagues and staff, it will dry up eventually and not be forthcoming when it really matters.

The Rule Keeper

We all need this personality. They follow and enforce the company procedures, job descriptions and regulations with almost religious fervour, sometimes forestalling internal failures by their methodology and knowledge of the company “machinery’.     Yet there is very little room for creative problem solving or reacting to a new situation that has not been documented or processed before.

Seen as a bureaucrat, this person will not step outside the confines of their duties, and will be defined them.   “It’s not my job” is a common line issued by the Rule Keeper and the buck may be passed to someone else.  Nevertheless, this person tends to be quite fair in their dealings with their co-workers, generally delivering the same level of support and responsiveness.    Whether efficient or not, fast or slow, the Rule Keeper will seldom be asked to perform outside of their “box” or “jump high” nor are they likely to ask this of anyone else.  In the changing business environment and current economic disaster, this could be a problem.

What to do?

These personalities are found in every organization in varying degrees.   They have all positive and negative aspects, and see themselves as the brilliant employee.   Expecting them to fix themselves therefore is futile.  They also are internal clients.  Management and Human Resources would have to do something , presuming that they recognize the need to address this issue.

In order to have people behave in a certain way, one needs to place them in a set of unique circumstances and situations that create the behaviour patterns that are desired.  Performance expectations should therefore be closely aligned to the ability to work with and tap into the other networks of the company.  The rewards given to the performance of the team should be more significant than those for the individual.    Job descriptions should include a workable methodology of interaction between departments and functions so that they clearly demonstrate how the company networks and interacts internally.    

A Company culture of teamwork and responsibility to each other is a must and there are many ways, this can be achieved.  Management can lead by example.  If someone sees their manager and their managers’ manager, “jumping high” for a client, internal or external, they will receive this positive message.   

How people in an organization “jump high” for each other, is truly indicative of how they are “jumping high” for the customer.   

Gloria Rubaine

Second Review Business Analysts

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply