United We Stand Divided We Fall

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The other day I heard one of my kids ask my husband for something. From upstairs I heard him politely decline the request. Not a minute later that same child marched upstairs and informed me that “Dad said we could”. Little stinker. This time I heard the actual conversation, but how frequently have our kids tried to play us? I can recall many times when we’ve questioned each other over something the kids are doing, only to learn that it wasn’t insubordination amongst one of us, but rather the kids. We’ve come close to arguments because of that deceptive behavior. My husband finally told the kids,

“Mommy and I are on the same team and we talk to each other, so don’t try to pull this again”.

Although small and young, kids are not naive. They are very aware, and given the right environment, quite manipulative. The key is to create an environment where they can’t pull those shenanigans. We’ve discussed, and agreed upon, our family values and how we want to raise the kids. We’re not simply part-time babysitters, we’re responsible for the development of our children. As parents, our communication skills have improved because we know if we don’t communicate, the kids will take over the house.

The same is true amongst management teams.

Some employees will watch for rifts between managers and work those divides to their advantage. Often with an ulterior motive, co-workers will play both sides of the fence in an effort to gain an advantage. If that employee senses an impending resolution they’ll often try to create a greater divide. When managers fight, rumors start, sides are taken, distraction abounds, productivity halts, and chaos ensues.

Aside from keeping managerial disagreements behind closed doors and off the main floor, managers must remember they’re on the same team. Management teams must begin to see themselves as leadership teams. The difference between managers and leaders is that leaders have a vision. A leadership team must share, and communicate, a common vision. That vision will not only unite the leadership team, but also the people they work with. Vision will keep managers focused and will eliminate an environment that creates disparagement.

Do you work for managers, or leaders?


Marilyn Cox

Marilyn Cox is the Director of Marketing for Second City Works - the B2B division of the famed Second City.

You know the buzzwords; inbound, outbound, content, demand gen, lead gen, martech, social media, account-based, advocacy, customer success, sales enablement, and analytics.She studies it, plans it, executes it, experiments with it, and loves it.

Through discovery, creation, and innovation she's learned to say "Yes, And".Like business, her career is one big improvisational act.

She leads all aspects of the brand and culture, developing and executing a clearly defined, integrated marketing communications strategy.Marilyn is responsible for planning, organizing, staffing, training, and managing all marketing functions to achieve objectives of growth, awareness, customer success and making work better.

Marilyn exists to empower sales and support the customer. When not geeking out over marketing analytics, she can be found daydreaming about her unrealized dream as a professional wrestler with the WWE.
4 Responses to "United We Stand Divided We Fall"
  1. louiswcolumbus@gmail.com' louiswcolumbus says:

    Great post Marilyn. It reminds me of the saying that a manager is what one does, and a leader is who one is. The best leaders have this innate ability to provide every single person on a team a clear idea of how their contribution and hard work will make the vision attainable.

    I think the best parents are transformational leaders because they unify diverse family members to a common vision of what their family stands for.

    And that is what makes for a great leader too – the vision and accomplishments leading to its fulfillment become so compelling that many roadblocks get cleared, from bickering and pettiness to not giving a job one’s all. True leadership makes selfishness diminish while shared accomplishment increases.


  2. steve@writingriffs.com' SteveKayser says:

    Work for managers or leaders? Hmmmm…. I’m not sure. Since I don’t work. “Hard work never killed anyone … but I’m not taking an y chances.”

  3. Excellent comparison! brilliant writing, GOoD work Marilyn and Thanks for this wonderful post 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing This useful information….

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