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Manager’s Checkup: How diplomatic are you?

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Diplomacy is a quality that can help front-line managers be more effective — and get ahead. How diplomatic are you? Take this quiz and find out:

1. One of your peers is now your boss, and he wants you to hire Agnes, one of his favorites, for a mission-critical position on your team. You think Agnes is unimpressive, but you:

a. Offer to hire Agnes for a different job when one comes up.

b. Interview Agnes along with your other candidates.

c. Make the boss happy, hire Agnes, and deal with the consequences later.

2. According to your team, the grapevine says your friend Barry is going to get the ax. You:

a. Ask your team to find out more details.

b. Tell Barry he needs to polish his résumé.

c. Tell your manager about the rumor.

3. Your team member Carlota has an idea that you like but that your boss hates. Carlota wants to take it to top management and asks for your support. You:

a. Try harder to sell your manager on Carlota's idea.

b. Ask your manager to let you take the idea to the top, with his objections noted.

c. Go directly to top managers and bypass your boss.

4. You're now supervising Dave, your best friend at work, and co-workers feel he's not pulling his weight. Your first move is to:

a. Have a heart-to-heart talk with Dave.

b. Apologize to the team and promise to fix the problem.

c. Review performance standards at the next team meeting.

5. Your assistant Ellen does most of the work on a project that pleases top managers. They nominate you — but not Ellen — for a corporate award. Your first move is to:

a. Accept the honor and present Ellen with an award of your own.

b. Ask top managers if they know how much Ellen did.

c. Refuse the honor and point out that Ellen deserves the credit.

What do your answers mean?

Here's what the experts said:

1. B is best — Agnes may demonstrate why your boss regards her so highly. A is a promise you may not want, or be able, to keep later. And C guarantees unhappiness all around.

2. C is preferred; managers need to know this information is making the rounds. A might be valid if the rumor was about you, but it's not. And B can lead to disaster.

3. B shows respect for both Carlota and your manager, while both A and (especially) C are unfair to your boss. He may have good reasons for opposing Carlota's idea.

4. A is best. Even if Dave isn't really slacking off, the effect of your friendship on the team deserves discussion. Both B and C shift blame, B to yourself and C to your team, for no reason.

5. B is best — this may be an oversight. A is unfair to Ellen, but C won't do her (or yourself ) any favors either if you alienate senior staff.

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