Tactic number 5 is a logical extension of tactic number 3 ‘judicious absence,’ where no-decision managers instead of being absent and unable to make decision, simply put up barriers to prevent access to their managers asking for decisions to be made.
Constructing a physical barrier to prevent access is the primitive way to avoid decision-making. The physical barrier is the door of the no-decision manager’s office, when they have one, invariably remaining closed most of the time. When they do not have an office, they will try to position themselves in a remote part of the building with difficult access far from their team and direct subordinates.
Nowadays, no-decision managers have to invent other more modern barriers, virtual ones, such as hiding in a conference room, switching off the phone, posting an automatic ‘out of the office’ or ‘unavailable for the moment’ response to emails, wearing headphones in an open-plan environment, and others. Saying, for instance, ‘I have a conference call in two minutes’ or ‘I am busy at the moment’ is a form of virtual barrier that is the modern equivalent of a physical one.
Otherwise no-decision managers seek out people who are not asking for decisions. They meet with as many as possible: employees, peers, subordinates, as well as people outside their organisation. Lunches, dinners, one-on-one meetings, or just informal conversations are all used extensively. The no-decision manager grabs any excuse to talk to people who are not requesting decisions, knowing that no decisions need to be made while they discuss with these people.
Normal managers will have their own preferences in setting up barriers not to be disturbed while they are involved in issues which require peace and concentration. They will also naturally meet with employees, peers, subordinates and their hierarchy as required, but none of these barriers or meetings are designed to avoid decision-making.
Effect on Subordinates
By tactic number 5, subordinates realise that their boss will never take decisions. They have discovered the no-decision manager who is also their boss. Whatever initial reaction they had on decision avoidance will continue as the different tactics are applied, whether it be frustration resignation or anger.