*This third post in a four-part series is about a Driver (one of four Business Chemistry types), how the wrong work environment kills her potential, and what could be done about it. Read posts one, two, and four of the series, about a Pioneer a Guardian, and an Integrator, respectively (which are tagged #BCstories).
Picture if you will a Driver, we’ll call her Dana, who worked in a building filled with row after row of glass-fronted offices. The desk in her own fishbowl office was installed in such a way that she couldn’t help but face the hallway. She hated that setup. People would casually walk by, and if they happened to make eye contact with her they seemed to see that as an open invitation to come in and interrupt her with small talk, even though she was clearly busy. She tried to keep her head down as people trolled outside, but sadly that didn’t seem to be sufficient deterrent.
Dana’s work was complex, and she felt like every time she began to get traction on the challenge at hand, she’d be interrupted. Often it was someone from another business group who “just wanted to say hi” but who would then proceed to say far more, hoping Dana would join in the gossiping. Dana just wanted to get back to her work. She couldn’t believe people didn’t notice her total lack of interest in the topic, and in further conversation. Other times her direct reports might pop in to talk about some trouble or another. In these situations, Dana was happy to provide her opinion; the issue was that even after she gave them explicit advice, they often kept waffling between options and repeating the same litany of concerns. If they disagreed, why didn’t they just come right out and say so? Or if they didn’t really want a solution to their problems, why were they bothering to ask for her help?
Given this history of disruptions to her productivity, Dana was particularly irritated when she was asked to join an impromptu team meeting. Her group met all the time, ostensibly with an agenda though no one seemed to stick to it. They rarely had what Dana would consider to be a real discussion. Everyone was polite, and softened each message so that no one would have hurt feelings. When Dana, in contrast, said anything direct or even mildly confrontational, the group would look at her as if she’d just kicked a puppy. And it killed her that they’d talk and talk to the brink of a decision but never actually make one.