Getting the Boss to get Rid of Himself

Here is a short discussion I had with a Typemock employee a few weeks ago.

imageEmployee: “Phew, We managed to purchase the last available ticket :-)”
Me: “That’s great…” after a pause “… Why do we keep on missing the early-bird discounts?”*
Employee: “That’s because you didn’t approve it until the last second”
Me: “Wow, I didn’t know that I was the bottleneck. But… we all knew about this 6 months ago, how come this didn’t come up”
Employee: “Because YOU didn’t tell us that we are actually going to do this”
Me: “Did you expect me to tell you that we should do it”
Employee: “Yes, we where waiting for you, we always wait for you, and then you normally come storming in at the last second and ask us if we are going to do it and what we need to do to it”
Me: “So lets see why this happens, how do I know that you are waiting?”
Employee: “We ask our manager if we are going and he says that you have to approve, so we asked you what we should do but you didn’t tell us to do it”
Me: “Why do you think that I know what to do?”
Employee: “?? What do you mean? You are our manager”
Me: “Ahh, here is where the problem is, you should know better that I do if we should do it. If you really believe that we should do it, you should just say so. Tell me that we should do it, I might ask you some questions but it must come from you and not from me”
Employee: “So… I am supposed to tell you what we should do?”
Me: “Of course, and explain why, you probably know better then me, and that way you wont be waiting for an answer that I don’t really have.”
Employee: “So how come you used to come at the last minute and tell us to do it”
Me: “When I found out that we are not ready to do it and we are nearing at the last minute, I ask what is happening, I learn the domain and make sure that we don’t miss the opportunity, but I hate doing this. I would prefer that we do it before and pay early-bird prices” **
Employee: “Ok, Now that I know, I will make sure that I tell you what I think we should do”
Me: “Thanks you, I feel that we made a great progress here”

I feel that I am managing to invert the command hierarchy

*  Some problem-searching
** Letting the team make mistakes
photo by Photoma’s World

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