Fifty Shades of Grey for Leaders

Cristian was recently promoted to manager of the accounting department as a result of his remarkable performance, organizational skills, and ability to develop new processes. He is known for being a caring, warm, and cordial team player who was well liked by his colleagues. He has worked as a peer with six people on the team for the past three years. One of his team members, Ana, who has been with the company for almost ten years, had also applied for the same promotion but did not get it.

Ana has now become jealous and bitter and is focused on “getting even” with upper management for promoting Crisitain over her. Cristian decided not to address Ana because he felt it would be too uncomfortable. However, in meetings Ana undermines Cristian’s ideas, does not share pertinent information with him on projects, and spreads negativity to the other team members about his lack of leadership skills.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

Cristian has become increasingly frustrated with Ana’s behavior and because he dislikes confrontation, asks his other employees and former peers what he should do. His employees shared a few ideas with him, but none to Cristian’s liking. Recently Cristian emailed Ana asking her to “please watch your tone with him and other co-workers and cooperate better.” Ana replied with a carbon copy email to the entire department saying, “I am a professional team player who is here to get results, please be more specific with your criticism of my performance. By the way, have you developed our team’s vision or are you more focused on me instead of the rest of the team?”

After many sleepless nights, Cristian attempts to terminate Ana but discovers that she is a remarkable performer who has exceeded expectations on her last three performance reviews. Feeling frustrated and lost for ways to deal with Ana, Cristian decides that he will do the unthinkable and finally confront Ana one-on-one in person.

It’s Friday afternoon around 4:45 pm and most of the department has left for the weekend. Cristian has just finished rehearsing exactly what he will say to Ana in their meeting. His palms are sweating and his heart starts to race as he walks out the door toward Ana’s work area. He approaches Ana and asks to speak with her for a few minutes. Ana replies, “let me finish my last thought in this email and I’ll be right with you.” As she presses send she turns around and looks Cristian directly in the eyes. Cristian, feeling pierced and not confident, looks away and says, “lets talk in my office.” Ana replied, “I’d feel more comfortable if we talked in the conference room instead, plus it’s closer.”

As they walk toward the conference room, Cristian is following Ana and for some reason feels powerless, he asks himself, am I the leader or is she? As they walk into the conference room, Ana sits down and asks “how can I help you?” Cristian says, “we have to talk about your attitude.” “My attitude,” Ana replied in a strong voice. “Yes, your attitude and arrogance like you,” Ana immediately interrupted him and stood up. “Let me tell you something buddy, I’ve been around alot of great leaders and high performers, and honestly, you don’t have what it takes. You and I both know you can’t fire me, so you’re all out of options. I suggest you act like a leader, take your paper thin promotion and leave me alone, because I have more influence than you know.” Cristian asks desperately, “why can’t you just play nice, what did I do to you?” Ana shakes her head and says, “you’re not cut-out for this leadership stuff; this meeting is over I have to pick up my kids.” As Ana walks out the door, she turns, smiles and says, “enjoy your weekend boss!” Cristian drops down in a chair and takes a deep breath as he starts biting his nails. As he leans back in the chair, he notices a framed picture with a motivational quote by an unknown author that read, “leadership is never black and white, it is always fifty shades of grey”


Cristian’s life as a new leader is not going as he expected. Many managers and leaders immediately look for the easiest way out of leadership situations by trying to discipline or terminate an employee. Cristian failed to be assertive but rather extremely passive in his communication style. He also ignored the feelings of an employee passed over for the promotion simply because it made him uncomfortable to discuss it. What could he have done differently? While not everyone reacts the same way in this type of situation, ignoring such a delicate issue can be catastrophic.

1. Embrace: Cristian could have embraced Ana by addressing the issue sooner rather than later in a one-on-one meeting and helped to start channeling her energy into a positive direction rather than allow her to stay in a negative mindset.

2. Empathize: Cristian could have empathized with Ana as necessary and discussed her strengths and skill set, while making sure he was genuine and not patronizing. Showing he cares about her as a person and her professional growth, may have helped Ana to think and respond differently.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

3. Encourage: Finally, Cristian could have encouraged Ana to focus on where she may need to improve to be ready for the next potential promotion. While not promising her anything he can’t deliver, Cristian could have discussed her professional ambitions and how he wants to involve her in decision making, special projects, etc… Ana could be his top performer if he can channel her energy in the right direction. She could also be his biggest problem, undermine his leadership ability, and infect other members of the team.

Remember, leadership is not about being passive and ignoring delicate issues, or becoming overly aggressive to the point of workplace bullying, it’s about being assertive, showing you care, listening, and creating environments where employees can flourish. In other words, leadership is never black and white, it is always fifty shades of grey.

What else could Cristian have done to better lead Ana? Please comment

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