A new twist on fake it till you make it.

Dec 12th, 2011 | By | Category: abundance, Career advice, career challenges, difficult boss, persuasion, tactics

I met a new friend with an interesting job situation. She is the sole representative of a foreign company in New York City. Being a long way from the home office has created some real challenges. First there is a lot of envy among her home office coworkers, which results in less than desirable support. When she needs information from the home office, it always just a little bit too late getting there to be helpful. In addition, it is missing just enough information to cause problems. She has mentioned the situation to her boss, who also appears to be non-supportive, only to get an ear full of she should make better decisions.

My friend said she has tried several different approaches to improve the situation, and every time she tries she is rebuffed. Not knowing all the details of the situation, but sensing my friends has given it all the classic tries, I suggested she try acting like every thing was going as smooth as silk and everyone was at the home office was especially supportive. First she looked at me like I was crazy, but I have seen it work more often than not. I’ve even used this tactic as a supervisor. When at wits end to motivate someone to do their job in an effective manner, I decided to copy a friend of mine who had his own version of fake until you make it. In other words he would act as if he was getting the results he wanted whether it was from his staff or his manager. The results, although not a 100%, were effective.

I am not sure there is a real theory behind it, but when you start treating someone like they are doing a good job when they are not, it puts pressure on them to make it true. For example, say the mail delivery person is always late delivering the mail to your office. This causes you a problem because you have to go through the mail and file a morning report of receipts to be used at your manager’s meeting at 10:00 AM. The time of the meeting was set based on the normal mail delivery, and the complexity of the report. If the mail were on time getting the report done and proofed before the meeting with no sweat. Since the mail is late, you have to rush, which often leads to errors, and there is no time to proof the report, so it goes forward with errors, which reflect badly on you and your boss. The boss come to you saying the reports are not good enough, and when you mention the late mail delivery, he just shakes his head like you are making excuses. Complaining to the mailroom get’s you no where, and the more you mention it the delivery man, the later he delivers the mail. What can you do?

Instead of complaining, act as though you get your mail on time. Tell everyone, especially when the mailman can hear, how glad you are to be getting you mail in timely manner. This makes it look like you are getting special treatment from the mailman, and others will start putting on pressure to get the same level of service; if for no other reason than to prevent you from appearing special. In the mean time, see if you can arrange to pick up your mail in the mailroom. A daily trip to the mailroom is worth getting your reports done correctly and on time. If you can pick up your own mail, ask how your mailman is doing with his deliveries in a concerned tone. “ I sure hope my picking up my own mail helps Joe get his deliveries on schedule”

It is not my preference to do someone else’s job, but if I have to get my job done I will.

A similar tactic will work with a boss, only you have to be more careful. If your boss is not supporting you act like he is. Instead of complaining try to emphasize how well you work together. – Even if it is not true. When you do meet with your boss, talk to him the way you would like the conversation to go. For example, when he tells you there are too many errors in your reports. Tell him you have been rushing too much to meet the deadline, but are working something out with the mailroom to get the mail early, and give time to double check the reports.

If you are wits end, it may be worth a try.

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