OK, call it rehashing or repurposing if you like, but I had a hankering to share the mucky muck with you again.
Anyway this is good stuff. My regular readers know that I call the goop and gluck of the workplace Mucky Muck (I have the story of why I chose this name at the end of the post, that´s new, not a rehash.) Here is a quick review of what mucky muck is (we all know it when we see/feel it) and 11 techniques for getting past the stuff.
11 Techniques For Navigating Mucky Muck
Managers and leaders are most likely to face mucky muck because they interact with more functions, levels, groups, and individuals than do others in the company. Once mucky muck presents itself, you can reduce its power over your department and organization. Mucky muck includes: miscommunication, office politics, disorganization, passing the buck and pointing fingers, hidden agendas, clashes in style, duplication of efforts, and other needless issues.
Successful and well adjusted leaders and managers practice techniques for navigating through the muck, including:
1. Do Your Homework.
If there are strong opinions or relationships influencing a decision maker, it is best to do your homework and discover what they are before wasting too much time working in an opposite direction.
2. Pick And Choose Your Battles.
Managers often face the decision whether to hold firm and fight for what they think is right or accept another decision and move on. If you wage too many battles, you may end up commanding less respect in your organization.
3. Focus Energy Where It Will Count.
Managers work hard to have a positive influence on as broad an audience possible. When individuals or groups show they are unreceptive or uninterested, focus your efforts and attention elsewhere.
4. Over Communicate, Be Inclusive And Follow-Up.
All managers should err on the side of over communication to reduce the likelihood of miscommunication, duplication of work, and contradictory information.
5. Analyze And Fix It.
When faced with contradictory information, duplication of efforts, or miscommunication, great managers do whatever it takes to understand and solve the problem. Good analysis goes a long way towards reducing or eliminating these and other types of mucky muck.
6. Ask Probing Questions To Reveal Motives And Hidden Agendas.
Ask questions to learn the intent and motivation of others´ comments and ideas.
7. Repair Relationships.
It can be uncomfortable, but it is important to repair damaged relationships with employees or coworkers. When not dealt with, these relationships get in the way of communication, workflow, and results.
8. Believe In People´s Capacity For Change And Learning.
Great managers know that most performance problems are actually management or system problems and that given the right guidance and leadership, nearly all employees will have the desire and capacity to do a great job.
9. Get Organized.
Effective managers know that they need to stay organized to ensure that they and their teams are efficient and feel confident.
10. Lighten Up And Roll With It. (I have decided to rename this the Rule of Timo)
Sometimes, the best approach is just laugh at something and move on.
11. See And Enjoy Accomplishment.
Once you practice seeing and managing mucky muck, you will become skilled at recognizing emerging problems and preventing them from undermining morale and derailing projects.
If you find yourself fascinated and transfixed by the concept of mucky muck, I have an entire chapter about the stuff in my book. You can get your signed copy with a ton of freebies here.
Where did the name mucky muck come from?
Most people think it is a derivative of muckity muck, a term often used for the top brass. That actually makes sense because the muckity muck cause a disproportionate amount of the mucky muck.
But that is not where the name came from. On Captiva Island there is a restaurant (I think it is still there I have not checked post the tri-fecta of hurricanes) called the Mucky Duck. It is a great place. I have always liked the name and started attaching the word mucky to the word muck for greater flair.
The mucky muck stuck because of the Mucky Duck not muckity mucks.