When I started my new job I was told that I will be working as a strategist for a single project. A dedicated hiring, which I believed would be suitable for me to observe and understand the functionalities of the market and implement the strategies accordingly, get the results, analyze them and do the needful. I thought this would enhance my career graph a little bit more as I had never worked as a strategist before. Also, I would be under an experienced manager of 15 years in sales and marketing which will definitely be helpful to understand the trade. But to my utter dismay, I found out that I am in the wrong hands. My manager doesn't know whom to assign what task and how.
The situation in briefIn our digital marketing team, we had two strategists to make and implement strategies for one project. The results are obvious:-
- Conflict of interests regarding what to do, what not to do and how to do
- Conflict of interests regarding who will implement first and when
- Showing reluctance in sharing information regarding the project
- Groupification and work politics both from manager's end and employee's end
- Sounds strange to you? Well, imagine my situation now! A string of incidents followed from the very first week which I carefully observed and noted down to analyze them for taking decisions in the future.
Elaboration of the situationDivide and Rule policy for increasing competitive atmosphere among the same team members:- After joining the company I observed this strange decision being taken by my manager. The team was instantly divided into two parts - one comprising of all the good content writers and designers to be lead by my strategist counterpart. Another comprising of only me, a designer-cum-animator who cannot deliver good results and a content writer working from a remote location. I was allowed to use some of the other team members occasionally and according to the discretion of my strategist counterpart. With most of the people willing to work for the other person, I am left with nothing. I still didn't give up. I tried to make the best of what I have only to get results that are not up to the mark.
From the very first day my manager set a goal for me - visibility for the brand I am working with. Having knowledge in campaign ideation for several offline and online projects I quickly came up with a few for my project. They were not welcomed much either by my manager or by my strategist counterpart. They were kept aside for future use. I was a bit disappointed but did not lose hope or give up. After two months I found out they were being used by my strategist counterpart for her own benefits and I am not allowed to use them anymore. Another instance of disappointment in my case.
Rejection of ideas in a swift diplomatic manner:-
The reluctance in sharing information:-Being new to the project I required certain information that would have helped me understand the same and take better strategic decisions. I expected this transparency from my manager's end but once again I was disappointed. Even after continuous verbal pleading, the situation did not improve. I had to send a written request for the same to get the works done.
Moreover, my strategist counterpart hardly ever shares any strategy with me. Obviously, why should the person do that, I have been made her professional enemy. Well, I never wanted this situation to happen. I believe in working together to bring in better results instead of fighting over for one little thing.
Which strategy to follow? Whose to follow?To a marketing team, strategy making is one of the most important tasks to do. I often observed that my strategist counterpart is not interested to discuss with me regarding what to do and what not to do. She takes her own decision after discussing it with the manager. Nothing is transparent here. No common agenda is set, no discussions and decisions are made together. I had to constantly poke the other one for the revelation of her task assignments. Otherwise, a peculiar silence is maintained.
Who will have it first?Well, that's a very important question. But why this situation arose? My strategist counterpart has a set of social media marketing jobs to be done every day. I also have the same. I set timings for social media posts according to my observations and calculations. I often found out that my posts are not allowed to be posted on the time slots I choose as my strategist counterpart wants to do so for her own. To resolve the conflict I had to manage and change the slots. Results are obviously not up to the mark and disappointments in my case.
You might be thinking "Ah! This girl is complaining about situations that she can't handle." But you are wrong. An employee will fight for his/her position only when he/she gets the indication that the manager is fair enough to judge his/her suggestions, claims, etc. There should be fair judgment of the tasks performed by both the strategists. But, if one finds that there is too much work politics being involved in the game which is adversely affecting the peace of mind and work process of the employee, he/she might step back from the arena only to safeguard his/her interests and career.
There are some more observations on the part of the manager that might help you understand how demoralizing the situation is:-
- Not confirming ideas over mail from manager's end leading to the confusion that whether my ideas are accepted or rejected
- Rejection of ideas after the completion of the task by my team members
- Unable to visualize what the creative would look like but side by side negating an expert's opinion.
- Unable to identify the real potentialities of each of the employees under him causing trouble to make a decision regarding which task to be assigned to whom. For example, a quality assessment manager was given the task to do social media marketing and SEO job to do in spare time.
- The continuous negation of thoughts and processes on the part of a new employee and sharing the same thoughts to the seniors bypassing the original ideator.
- Not talking in a clear manner but explaining situations in a roundabout way using broken lingo which is difficult to understand.
- Refusing to listen properly to someone who is trying to help solve the situation.
- Unwilling to appoint a lead strategist and marketing head but willing to carry on with his dangerous experiment of divide and rule policy
- Having the wrong notion that people usually don't like working for a single project as it is boring, but failing to identify who really can
- Having little or no faith in the potentialities of the team members especially the strategists
Even if I consider these as a testing situation for me, a way to judge my potentialities and mental strength to cope with precarious situations, then I had to say such actions are not creating enough vibes inside me to carry on with the tasks. I believe each and every person is different. They have different backgrounds, different experiences that shaped their thought processes and work processes, etc. A good manager should have the potentialities to identify the right persons to do the right jobs for him and not just go on doing experiments that disturb the focus of an enthusiastic employee. In my opinion, one should never work for such a confused manager who implements divide and rule policies just because he doesn't know whom to use and in what way.