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Chapter 11. Indentifying the Venomous Di... > Techniques of the Viper - Pg. 117

Indentifying the Venomous Difficult Employee 117 Employee Handbook Backroom politicking is a technique some venomous people use to make themselves look good, or gather more power at the expense of others. This includes the use of back-channel communication with others in the company at the same level or the levels above you. There's not much worse than having someone who avoids or questions your authority by using these kinds of backroom techniques. It creates a situation where you may lose credibility in the eyes of your boss and your employees, particularly if the backroom politicking succeeds. So, how do you handle this? You do something completely different than with the other situations we've discussed in this chapter. You are going to try to cut off any rewards or reinforcement the backroom person gets from doing these kinds of things. How? You don't start with the person using the backroom techniques. You start with the people that person is talking to. Let's talk about Fred. He's the guy with the pet project, and you find out he's been talking to Martha, the division head who is also your boss. You go to Martha and say: "Martha, I know Fred has approached you about the XYZ project he wants to do. I could use your help on this. If Fred keeps coming to you with these kinds of issues, it's going to make it impossible for me to do my job, and that means lower productivity. Is it possible for you to refer any of Fred's concerns back to me, so Fred deals with me rather than you? I really need to be directly involved in any of these discussions. Or, maybe the three of us could meet if you think we need to revisit the initial decision." It's very important that you do this calmly and without any emotional outburst. Now, if Martha agrees, you have cut off the "ear" listening to Fred's complaints. When Fred talks to Martha about this, Martha simply says: "Fred, I'm not going to override the decision, so you need to talk to your direct manager." Bingo! No audience there. No reward. No reinforcement. I suggest you try this route first, even before you talk directly to Fred. After you have Martha's support, then you go to Fred and talk about the problems his behavior may cause, and the possible outcomes if he continues. You're probably wondering what to do if Martha doesn't support you and continues to provide an ear and even overturns your decision. You are in big trouble. Your problem isn't Fred. Your problem is that you work for an incompetent or difficult boss. We'll address that when we talk about difficult bosses in Chapter 15, "The Nutso Boss." The Pinocchio Problem Wouldn't it be great if noses really grew when people lied or were dishonest? The reality is that people lie in a variety of ways and expect to get away with it. People lie about their jobs and why they didn't get their work done. They lie about the facts of situations (or at least they often recount them with considerable error). They may even lie about you and what you said or did.