As Monkeys in the Middle, we tend to wear various hats in our daily work. Many of us are involved in Risk, Contracts, Budget, Logistics, manufacturing… True epitomes of the term “Jack of all trades and masters of none.” No matter what one of these hats we have on at any given time, there is always another one that rarely sits on the shelf and more often than not on our coconut: Action Officer (AO).
As Action Officers we can have many roles covering many different areas of middle management. But, our main responsibility is to be the person on point, trusty Lieutenant or Chief Operating Officer of a certain item of interest or project within the Program Office. Many of us are AOs and don’t even know it! Through the course of our days we may interact with other AOs both internal and external to the organization. To work affectively, there are some rules of etiquette that should be followed:
-Don’t rely solely on emails. Try establishing a relationship face to face when possible. Even when AOs are not co-located, meeting periodically as quick as possible can pay huge dividends during a long-term project. (You may be surprised at what having a couple of beers together can do).
-When poking someone… poke in the eye never in the back. When there is a disagreement, inform the other AO of the actions you plan to take. What you do should never be a surprise to the other person. Even when there is confrontation, being honest and upfront will build on the working relationship.
-Handle issues at the lowest level. Bring leadership in when details have been worked out or there is no agreement. Bringing leadership in at the onset wastes their time and potentially takes away YOUR decision-making ability.
-Include the people that need to be involved….just the people who need to be involved! Including many people, especially those on the outskirts of an issue, tends to invite many opinions. Opinions can be good and good ideas can be had from those opinions but involving those with little skin in the game particularly early can through efforts off course. Bring the right people in as needed
How many of you have interacted with AOs that did not follow just ONE of these rules? Isn’t working with them fun?
Photo attributed to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenny-pics/