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Questions That Get Results: Innovative Ideas Managers Can Use to Improve Their Teams' Performance by Patrick Connor, Paul Cherry

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Chapter 8. Questions That Manage Across

As managers, we get used to telling people what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. We give instructions to the employees we manage and, for the most part, those employees do what we ask of them. Difficulties can arise, however, when we have to work with people who do not report directly to us, and we have to depend on their assistance to get our jobs or projects done. Whether they are employees who work in a different department or other managers in our company, what happens when we need something to be done, and the person on the other end does not want to do it? Or, he or she agrees to do it but then fails to follow through? Or, the person does it on his or her timeline, which does not mesh with ours?

In many companies, this problem arises more often than we would like to imagine. Departments may have developed adversarial relationships over time or have conflicting priorities and goals. Sometimes the issue is limited resources and not enough staff available to complete projects. Or, there might be a lack of guidance from the directors and, therefore, departments have too much autonomy and no clear guidelines on how to work together. Even at the top, vice presidents or senior managers may refuse to help one another, and as a result, resources get wasted, productivity drops, and customers suffer because their needs are not being met adequately by the company.

As a manager, what can you do when someone at your own company is making your ...

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