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Get the answers you need from ‘buck-passers’

by on
in HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Issue: You often need people to act or decide quickly, even if they don't report to you.

Risk: When people avoid making decisions, it can slow you down and reflect badly on your management ability.

Action: Make "buck-passers" take a stand by following these five steps.

In the HR world, you often rely on people who don't report to you, such as IT or accounting employees, to follow through on your requests. But what happens when you're confronted with people who hate to commit to a decision?

These are folks who talk around an issue or constantly change the subject, hoping to redirect the conversation so they can buy more time to decide. Or they'll demand needless data or detailed explanations to grind the discussion to a halt.

Your patience may wane as these buck-passers skirt the problem. Here are five ways to help slowpokes take a stand:

1. Applaud decisiveness. The more you praise people for their decisiveness, the more you spur "decision-challenged" people to act.

2. Tolerate misfires. Create an environment where bad decisions don't trigger your wrath. Buck-passers may take charge once they sense you'll accept their mistakes.

3. Dangle a carrot. Give your best decision-makers prominent roles on teams. Praise them publicly in memos and meetings.

4. Go up a level. For example, when using e-mail to make key requests of buck-passers, copy their supervisors on the message. Then give e-kudos, again copying the supervisor, when the request is completed.

5. Give real-time feedback. When you notice a buck-passer trying to sidestep a decision, meet with the person, and point it out.

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