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Managing the Work

Conflict can occur when your direct report is working below your expectations or is having difficulty adapting to unfamiliar assignments. Many managers mistakenly think that a direct report who is excellent at doing many tasks is able to execute all tasks. The flip side to that thinking characterizes a direct report who does not execute some tasks well as being unable to carry out any task at all. Managers with that perspective are prone to micromanaging and are reluctant to delegate responsibilities. Typically, such managers delegate a task, but when the result doesn’t meet their expectations they take it back and do it themselves. As a result, these managers take on more work and lose confidence in the direct report’s abilities. It also discourages the direct report, who can lose confidence and perform below expectations.

To avoid conflict from arising in these kinds of situations, it’s important that you are very clear on your expectations and the results you’re looking for. At the same time, be flexible enough to allow your direct reports some leeway in getting those results. Try to see the task from their point of view and to appreciate their approach to carrying out the work. It might not be the way you would do it, but if the results meet your expectations, step back and offer recognition instead of managing the work for them and possibly starting conflict.


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