top of page

The third quadrant

Don’t use terminology your subordinates do not understand:

Sadly, the following is a true story. A company holds an annual retreat for its managers and executives. They attend training sessions about management styles and new ways to prioritize their assignments. They play a few role playing games and team building activities to build camaraderie and become familiar with the new concepts they have been taught. The managers are all encouraged to utilize these new techniques as soon as they return to their offices.

The next week an employee asks her supervisor a question. The response: “That’s a third quadrant task, so let’s work on something more pressing.” Then the supervisor looks at a nearby manager from another department and winks as they both chuckle smugly.

Essentially, these managers are taunting the employees: “Hah, ha! We know something you don’t. It’s a big secret and you aren’t important enough to know or smart enough to understand. We are so superior!”

First of all, the employee had no idea what her boss was talking about. The employee is miffed because her boss not only showed disrespect by using a term she obviously was unfamiliar with, but placed her in an awkward position because she had to ask what her supervisor meant, as if she were ignorant.

Well, it’s always helpful to make sure your employees know what you mean if you expect them to carry out their assignments with any success. It’s not exactly wise to talk over their heads and act as if they are the ones who are stupid if they don’t understand your terminology. You lose their respect and trust. But, unfortunately, this happens all too frequently.

Sometimes it’s all about ego.

Let’s face it, some managers are too busy trying to impress the higher-ups and improve their standing in the company than trying to help the employees on their team achieve their goals. Sometimes it’s all about ego.

Even in this day, there are bosses who trample over their own employees as they try to climb the corporate ladder. As backward as it might seem, withholding newfound training and lording over subordinates is common. Unfortunately, the tactic of making oneself look good at the expense of the little people still works in many companies.

Furthermore, some training of managers only focuses on empowering managers, but stops short of describing how to implement the new lessons so that their employees will understand and react positively to the new tactics.

Share the knowledge

Of course the smart thing would have been to introduce the new concepts to the employees at the earliest possible opportunity. Share the ideas and teach the concepts so everyone is on the same page. Use your training to better achieve company goals and increase efficiency in your department.

bottom of page