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Topics: Strategy
How to cope up with the internal politics and biased mentality / behaviour of your superior / top bosses in Project Management Environment
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I am afraid if this is not very common in other organisation or someone feels this is not appropriate in this forum. But many times I have seen / experienced preconceived notion / biased behaviour towards some employee which is not yielding any fruitful result in the organisation overall scenario.

The concerned employee does not find any suitable forum to keep his/her point of view, before any hearing, sort of judgement is passed against the employee and he/she is victimized at the end. He/she does not find any other alternative other than leaving the job and looking for other opportunities. On the contrary if the top bosses/management could have been fair in their attitude, the employee could have been utilised in a much better way for the betterment of the company only.

Was just wondering if there could be any other structured way to find this kind of subtle unfairness.

I am sorry if this does not fall in the project management discussion thread, but I would feel great if someone ponders on this and shares his/her valuable comments on this.
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Actually Banaja it is very common within organizations, and management/leadership is all part of project management. If an organization seeks the highest business value and to be leaders in their industry, then managers that display bias won't last too long.
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1 reply by Banaja Bhaduri
Jun 19, 2018 11:44 PM
Banaja Bhaduri
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Yes Sante, you are very right. Normally something which is detrimental to the bigger cause should not continue in the long run. But for that moment, it happens and it causes kind of harassment to the employee and the concerned employee is demotivated and frustrated. If the action is from the highest authority in the company he/she does not find any other way to combat that. I have concern for that kind of situation where the employee does not feel contributing in the project in constructive manner anymore. Which in turn causes many more problems in the project. Sometimes I find there was no fault of the employee in the first place at all.
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First of all, to remember that perception is subjective. What you think is not fruitful could be on the contrary. Second, it is a matter of organizational culture.If the employee takes a behavor is because the organizational culture allows it. So,anything happends for a reason and we could be or not in agreement but we need to put aside what we think and to act as objective as possible. If the behavor is impacting our project then we need to perform stakeholder management to understand how to manage her/him and just in case the behavor is creating risk and issues to our plan then we need to record them.
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1 reply by Banaja Bhaduri
Jun 19, 2018 11:51 PM
Banaja Bhaduri
...
I fully agree with you Sergio. Sometimes it is just organizational culture. Some of our culture accepts that kind of unjust authoritative behavior knowing fully well that this is not acceptable in any civilized / cultured society / country. It speaks about the standards of that organisation too. When we talk about progress we have to address this kind of human resource issues too for real progress everywhere including in our projects. Stakeholder management is the right way.
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I have experienced this many time. I have been both the "favored" employee and the "problem" employee. Truthfully I don't like either.
Being biased is unfortunately part of human behavior.
A good company will have procedures in place to protect it's people. Check with Human Resources and/or EEO.
As a project manager, it is your responsibility to protect your team members from any form of harassment.
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1 reply by Banaja Bhaduri
Jun 20, 2018 12:00 AM
Banaja Bhaduri
...
Dinah, like you I have also experienced both the situations, may be for a very short period. but yes I know how it feels. Many years I have worked in neutral situations also. Those who are "favoured", can't find time for their own family, they have to be always on their toes, but they have other incentives also. They are always ahead of others in the yearly appraisal.

It is always better to work in an impartial environment. But this is too human tendency to indulge in some sort of biased behavior. It is okay till it harms some other person, that too unlawfully. We all try to find how to keep balance between these two.
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Like Dinah, I have been both the "favored" and "not so favored" employee. In an ideal world, we would all be judged on how well we do what we do.

I used to make a joke at a prior employer, where I seemed to be favored, about how "it isn't what you know, it was how well you could convince others that you know it." (The actual phrasing I started using was - "It isn't what you know, it is what people think you know")

I started making that joke based on my belief that I was in a role that I was totally unqualified for, but they loved me and constantly praised my work, even asking for me over other people (those other people were the people I went to when I got stuck). I was, rather accidentally able to convince them that I knew stuff I had no clue about. As far as I could tell, that was what made them "favor" me.

Meanwhile, their smartest and most capable employee they dumped on and treated like trash. When he quit (thankfully after I did), they realized real quick how important he was to their organization. As it turned out, I wasn't the only one going to that guy for help when I got stuck, and I also wasn't the least knowledgeable one they had.

I think this is fairly common in a lot of places. Sometimes managers may just like a person and dislike someone else for no other reason than just their personality or false perceptions of their work.
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1 reply by Banaja Bhaduri
Jun 20, 2018 12:06 AM
Banaja Bhaduri
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Joshua, I fully understand the situations you have penned down. This is very common incident I have also experienced a couple of times. Some employees are dumped for no reason at all. It is purely based on some interpersonal notions and some hearsay. When some authoritative people does not bother to find the truth, it becomes a problem.

Like Dinah said procedures and check lists should be there in place, that we fail to comply in many situations.
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Such counterproductive attitudes are more predominant in organizations where the employees are being picked up thru biased or unequal opportunity negotiations at the induction stage.

After a while, when the throughputs of all the employees are exposed and compared in a common platform, there are possibilities of development of intrinsic feelings that may be described as inferior, superior, insecure (and so on) irrespective of the position of the employee. Such feelings can be dormant so long as there are no triggers but erupts when the circumstances ripen. I think, Ms Banaja was referring to some of such spurts.

In my opinion, there are two ways for addressing such cases:-
1. Thought the employees are educated and experienced, all of them should be screened for their strenghts and weaknesses prior to assigning a new task. This would give them a platform to expose their capabilities and shortfalls and would rather get a chance to evaluate themselves. Such understandings would counter their own feelings to some extent.

2. There should be routine FORMAL quality improvement programs and INFORMAL team building sessions among the working groups so that all are given adequate chances to learn formally and interact informally.

I have tried similar approaches in a few of my projects where the employees were having different educational and demographic backgrounds.
On whatever grounds it may be, the lead/manager need to demonstrate a remarkable unbiased approach to make the exercise successful.
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1 reply by Banaja Bhaduri
Jun 20, 2018 1:00 AM
Banaja Bhaduri
...
Yes Dileep, it is the right approach to address some of the issues. Constant upgradation is required in every field. We require many such drives to identify the correct potential of the employee and train them further. Many times we have seen the jobs delegated to someone who is least interest in those kind of activities. At times we ignore that personal liking disliking also, as the job demands something else need to be performed. We tend to bank on the available employees. All these are part of project management, needs to be done judiciously. At the last what you said, unbiased approach, that is most important thing, which is rare sometimes.
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In think not treating everyone equally is like fostering a sense of resentment and separation that can demotivate employees and damage team unity.

In my experience this is common in organizations, and like Dinah mentioned I have been "not so favored" employee.
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1 reply by Banaja Bhaduri
Jun 20, 2018 1:04 AM
Banaja Bhaduri
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True Anish, we sometimes lose a very efficient employee in this kind of situation. Sometimes it is a loss for the company.
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you should have 3 factor to succeed in anywhere
1- good personality
2- more knowledge and skills
3- great insight
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1 reply by Banaja Bhaduri
Jun 20, 2018 1:05 AM
Banaja Bhaduri
...
Fully agree with you Mohamed, still have seen people suffering with all qualities. We need to protect this kind of situation with our project management skills.
Network:145



Jun 19, 2018 4:17 AM
Replying to Sante Vergini
...
Actually Banaja it is very common within organizations, and management/leadership is all part of project management. If an organization seeks the highest business value and to be leaders in their industry, then managers that display bias won't last too long.
Yes Sante, you are very right. Normally something which is detrimental to the bigger cause should not continue in the long run. But for that moment, it happens and it causes kind of harassment to the employee and the concerned employee is demotivated and frustrated. If the action is from the highest authority in the company he/she does not find any other way to combat that. I have concern for that kind of situation where the employee does not feel contributing in the project in constructive manner anymore. Which in turn causes many more problems in the project. Sometimes I find there was no fault of the employee in the first place at all.
Network:145



Jun 19, 2018 5:28 AM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
First of all, to remember that perception is subjective. What you think is not fruitful could be on the contrary. Second, it is a matter of organizational culture.If the employee takes a behavor is because the organizational culture allows it. So,anything happends for a reason and we could be or not in agreement but we need to put aside what we think and to act as objective as possible. If the behavor is impacting our project then we need to perform stakeholder management to understand how to manage her/him and just in case the behavor is creating risk and issues to our plan then we need to record them.
I fully agree with you Sergio. Sometimes it is just organizational culture. Some of our culture accepts that kind of unjust authoritative behavior knowing fully well that this is not acceptable in any civilized / cultured society / country. It speaks about the standards of that organisation too. When we talk about progress we have to address this kind of human resource issues too for real progress everywhere including in our projects. Stakeholder management is the right way.
Network:145



Jun 19, 2018 7:58 AM
Replying to Dinah Young
...
I have experienced this many time. I have been both the "favored" employee and the "problem" employee. Truthfully I don't like either.
Being biased is unfortunately part of human behavior.
A good company will have procedures in place to protect it's people. Check with Human Resources and/or EEO.
As a project manager, it is your responsibility to protect your team members from any form of harassment.
Dinah, like you I have also experienced both the situations, may be for a very short period. but yes I know how it feels. Many years I have worked in neutral situations also. Those who are "favoured", can't find time for their own family, they have to be always on their toes, but they have other incentives also. They are always ahead of others in the yearly appraisal.

It is always better to work in an impartial environment. But this is too human tendency to indulge in some sort of biased behavior. It is okay till it harms some other person, that too unlawfully. We all try to find how to keep balance between these two.
...
1 reply by Dinah Young
Jun 20, 2018 8:30 AM
Dinah Young
...
The reason I do not like being the "favored" employee is that is causes issues with my co-workers. I would rather be "not so favored" and be able to work efficiently and well with co-workers than to be favored.
Even in the most "neutral" environments, you could still see the slight favoritism because that is human nature.
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