Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Know Your Place!

OK, this is seriously funny. It would have been even funnier if it were not sad...

Figuratively speaking, how frequent are such situations when the distance between the boss and the subordinates are so great? Here are are talking about two types of distances: psychological and physical. I won't try discuss the relational aspects in the workplace when things go sour or don't start well from the very beginning. But how people physically sit in the office plays a tremendous role.

It is always a battle. Those who potentially can get an office will always say that they need to work with confidential information and it would be madness for them to sit in the "monkey area". Those who don't know better will advocate that getting their superviser closer would be a good idea, because at least they won't have to go far to get a signature or a piece of advice.

When I first traveled to Shell Exploration & Production HQ in Rijswijk, the Netherlands, I was amazed to see Vice Presidents sitting in open space. It really works. The trick is, of course, not to start spending your days in a meeting room, transforming it into a permanent office. Another fallacy many managers forced to sit with their subordinates commit is picking a corner desk or building up a wall made of a credenza with beautiful flowers and a book rack. The idea of openness gets a bit diluted in that case...

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