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Video: From Dogs, Cats, Project Managers And Bosses
I had a cat called Mucki as a child. She wasn't that big, but she was pretty smart. One day a man walked past our property with a large, non-leashed hunting dog. The entrance gate was open and the curious dog took the opportunity to take a detour to our property. Sitting there, unnoticed by the dog, was the cat, who was already fixing the dog with ruffled fur. I expected that as soon as the dog noticed the cat, it would do what dogs like to do with cats, and that the cat would foresee its well-being by fleeing to a tree. But far from it. The cat attacked the stunned dog like a fury and gave it a few claws. The dog fled our property - and I had a great lesson on territorial violation:It can lead to unexpected and violent reactions, and it is not always the stronger who emerges as the winner.
Ok, nice story, but what does it have to do with projects? I am not going to compare project managers with cats and their bosses with dogs, or vice versa, because I do not know which invisible boundaries I cross with them and who then blows me. In any case, projects and cat territories have one thing in common: breaching the borders has consequences. Unfortunately, the territorial borders are not so clearly recognizable by fences, hedges or entrance gates.
The classic of a project territorial violation is directing the boss into the project past the project manager. It looks something like this: The project customer knows the managing director of the company who is carrying out the project. He has a change request or complaint and uses his relationship to influence and exert pressure. The managing director promises to take care of the matter personally. The customer feels belly-brushed. So far so good. But now comes the point where the belly brush can turn into a belly landing on the inside. Because the managing director marches into the project team with a broad chest and gives instructions to the project staff without consulting the responsible project manager what needs to be done. He can do that because he is the managing director. This is his companyand these are his employees. Whether it is advisable to use his position of power in this way is another matter.
Let us consider how this approach is received by the employees - especially in the event of repetition. The project staff are unsettled. You may be asking yourself questions like: Who is the project manager? When is the project manager leading the project and when is it up to the managing director? Who do I turn to when the going gets tough or when there are important decisions to make?
The slowdown in project management also poses very similar questions. The roles and responsibilities are no longer clear. The project manager could also interpret the boss's intervention as follows: he doesn't trust me or he doesn't trust me to settle the matter. Not exactly motivating. For example, there is a risk that the project manager may perceive this encroachment on his territory as a violation of loyalty and pay it back with the same coin: “What did the boss do? He has no idea!”Or the project manager gives up his territory and thus also the willingness to take responsibility for it. "If he wants to lead the project himself, please. Then I will take responsibility wherever possible.”This is called internal dismissal. Another variant would beto counter the perceived deprivation of trust through an actual termination.
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