Reshuffling the Deck

She loved the company. The culture was an ideal fit with her natural enthusiasm and free-spirited personality. Autonomy was encouraged and rewarded. Compensation was competitive and there was plenty of room for growth. With a few notable exceptions, the majority of her co-workers shared the same level of engagement with their jobs. For the unhappy few, leaving was the only way to address the daily drain of the micro-managing supervisor whose oppressive behavior, for some reason, had remained below the radar of senior leadership.

As key talent accepted the offers of competitors, routine exit interviews unveiled a theme. Leaving was a difficult but necessary alternative to enduring the undermining effects of stifling management even though this supervisor was an aberration amongst otherwise empowering leadership. Soon, the undercurrent of dissatisfaction captured the attention of someone with decision authority in the organization. A small amount of investigation was all that was needed to diagnose the problem. The supervisor was not a bad human. He just lacked management skills.

Rearranging the organizational chart was relatively easy. Shifting reporting relationships enabled affected employees to be repositioned under a more mature and developed manager. It also permitted the less experienced manager to be placed under the mentorship of a seasoned leader known for her stewardship of the organization’s rich culture. If the young supervisor had the motivation and capacity to learn and grow, the opportunity would be ripe.

Play the hand you’re dealt. Finesse your strong cards, maximize the value of your weak ones, and keep an eye on the discard pile. Sometimes, reshuffling the deck opens some unexpected options.

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