How can I stand up for my team?
Dear Someone Else’s Dad,
A manager—call him Dirk—from another division asked me to represent my division on a company-wide task force. I’m very junior and seem to be a lot younger than everyone else on the task force. I know that Dirk and my manager don’t exactly see eye-to-eye, so I think I was chosen for the task force because I don’t know a lot and won’t make waves. I don’t want to be a silent participant, let Dirk intimidate me, and then have him find ways to do things my manager won’t like. Do you have any tips on how to handle this?
Thanks, Quiet Quincy
Welcome to the world of internal politics. I don’t know Dirk’s motives, but your assessment sounds reasonable. If he has chosen you to represent your division, you have to be clear about how every item you discuss in the task force affects your group and other groups. Look for opportunities in those meetings not to be a naysayer but to articulate pluses and minuses for everyone. Your responsibility as a member of a task force is to do what’s right for the entire firm. You may get a reputation among other task force members as someone who looks at a bigger picture than Dirk does.