When you were young, is what you’re doing now for a living what you envisioned?
It seems like a fairly straight forward question.
However, how you make your living, actually goes beyond being merely content with what you are doing. What I really want to know is whether or not your current job or position is empowering you to be all you can be in terms of cultivating and developing your true talents or calling.
I know that this may sound like an overarching, perhaps even dramatic question. After all, why poke the alligators with unnecessarily deep queries, especially if you are comfortable within your current circumstances?
So before you respond, take a moment to consider the following . . . when you were young, and all things were still possible, how did you feel?
Did you feel a combination of excitement and freedom? Did you possess an unencumbered perception of the possibilities that laid before you?
Back then, I bet that nothing was out of the question, and everything was likely within your reach.
I know when you get older, your youthful enthusiasms are replaced by a more “realistic” and “practical” understanding of your capabilities, and what you can and cannot do in the real world. It is all a part of growing up and becoming a responsible adult.
Unfortunately, a side effect of this necessary maturation process is that most people lose their ability to still dream – to seek out their own unique talents and capabilities, and align their working life with who they really are, and what they really want to do and CAN DO!
I m not suggesting that you chuck it all and pick-up your old backpack to travel across country . . . unless that’s on your bucket list.
What I am talking about, is recapturing a youthful enthusiasm and passion for what you currently do.
Is that possible? Can you within your present role – with your current company, leverage your unique talents and abilities to their fullest potential? Is it still possible to ignite an enthusiastic spark of endless possibilities and real and enduring personal satisfaction?
If your answer is yes, then congratulations. Keep doing what you are doing, because it is obviously working for you.
If your answer is no, or you are not sure, then you have to decide if it is the career or the company (or both) that need to be changed?
Take the following quiz to find out, and then check your score results to determine what course of action you can take to live the life you envisioned . . . the life you deserve.
- If you could go back and choose another profession or career path, would you?
- Do you often times feel that your true talents and abilities are not being utilized to their fullest potential?
- Do you frequently feel like you are stuck in neutral in terms of being neither happy nor unhappy with your present job?
- If you had all the money in the world and could do anything you wanted, would you do something different?
- Do you execute your daily tasks out of a sense of responsibility and duty, as opposed to being energized and excited about each new undertaking?
- If you could easily and seamlessly move to a different company tomorrow doing the same job, would you?
If you answered YES to the first 5 questions and no to question 6, then you need to look at making a career change.
If you answered NO to the first 5 questions and yes to question 6, then you don’t need a new career – you need a new company.
Regardless, it is important for you to step back from time to time to do a personal inventory, as you are in a state of career limbo.
In the end, you and only you, can determine whether or not you have compromised your talents and potential. If you have, you may be paying the bills buy not tapping into your unique abilities or being fulfilled. To quote Jimmy Dean, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”
So tell me, do you want something more, and what are you prepared to do about it?
If you had to do it all over again, would you still chose the job you are now doing?
It is a simple question with far reaching consequences. Especially since the lions share of your waking hours are spent at the office.
I am not talking about the occasional off day, when one wistfully contemplates their what could have been childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, professional athlete or someone famous.
What I am talking about is your reaching a point of total disillusionment. A point where the chasm between original career expectations and the reality of unfulfilled job satisfaction widens with each passing day.
“In a poll of 15,000 job seekers, 87.2% indicated that they wanted to leave their present employer within the next 12 months.”
In my last post I had made reference to a Gallup Poll which found that 87.2% of respondents had indicated that they wanted to leave their present employer within the year.
While 52.6% said their reason for wanting to make the change was due to the fact they did not trust their current boss, one thing is clear . . . dissatisfaction is not limited to a select few. Just as an aside, if you are one of the 52.6% who have a trust issue with your boss, check out my previous post for tips on what you can do to turn things around.
What Are You Prepared To Do?
If you are unhappy with your present job, the obvious question is why do you stay? Why not make a change?
I am certain that you have many good reasons for maintaining your present state of inertia. You undoubtedly have bills to pay, or kids on the verge of entering college or – if you are a Millennial – see your present position as a means of striking out on your own in an exciting, new world of total independence. In short, you find yourself stuck between the irresistible force of personal dreams and unrealized aspirations, and the immovable object of having to earn a living.
As a result, you get caught up in what I call career paralysis, and the resulting hopelessness of believing you are trapped.
But you do have a choice.
You can continue to sit idly by and watch your days of discontentment turn into weeks, months and then years – which really isn’t an option.
Alternatively, YOU can decide to take action, starting with identifying the reason or reasons why you don’t like your present job, and what you can do to make things instantly better.
The following are three of the most common reasons why people hate their jobs. There are without a doubt other reasons, but the manner in which you will learn to deal with these will provide you with a proven guideline for dealing with the others.
1. Perceived Low Pay
According to a Psychology Today article, what you make versus what you believe you should be making, is the number one reason for employee dissatisfaction.
Ironically, and based upon the universal tendency to accept the first offer from a potential employer, you may have unintentionally created your own problem. Like the mighty oak that grows from a tiny acorn, the longer you go without addressing your concerns regarding your pay, the more monumental the task to correct it becomes.
Before going through the job interview process, do your homework with regard to industry pay scales. Knowing the position you want, find out what it pays at both the low and high end. This way when you receive an offer you can either accept it if it falls within the industry’s range or, make a counter offer citing your research.
One word of caution . . . resist the temptation to just say yes out of fear of losing the job. Good employers will almost always respect your candor and the fact that you took the time to do your homework, as this demonstrates your work ethic and commitment to details.
What if you have been with your present company for some time?
It is never too late to write a new ending!
If you believe that you should be paid more, then do your homework as if you are looking for a position within the industry today. Either you will discover that your pay is in line with the going rate or, you will be able to demonstrate that it is indeed time for a raise.
Besides checking your emotions at the door, what is a key point to remember when you approach your boss about a raise? It will likely cost your organization more to replace your experience, than it would to pay you a fair and reasonable increase.
2. Lack Of A Challenge
How do you feel about the actual work that you currently do?
For example, if you are you new to the workforce, do you feel that your skills are being fully utilized by your employer? Do you believe that you are making a positive and meaningful contribution to you organization’s goals?
Conversely, are you a long-time employee who is in a secure but mind-numbing rut? Are you simply going through the motions of what were once new and exciting tasks?
Either way, creating satisfaction in terms of your role and responsibilities is actually up to you.
” If you can’t do great things, do small thingsin a great way.” – Napoleon Hill
If you are just starting your career, recognize that it is in the basic, even mundane tasks that you build creditability relative to earning the opportunity to take on greater responsibilities and challenges.
If you are a seasoned veteran, you need go outside of your comfort zone to actively seek out new opportunities. Is there someone you could mentor? How about volunteering for a tough assignment. Chances are, your company will be more inclined to assign the more difficult tasks to someone with whom they are familiar and in whom they have confidence.
The key is to not wait for opportunity to knock on your door, but to aggressively seek out the unexplored needs within your organization and fill them.
3. Employee Turnover
Unlike bygone days when people stayed with the same company throughout their entire careers, the current workforce is increasingly mobile. In fact, it is not uncommon for employees to change jobs every 2 to 3 years.
For many, this revolving door scenario can lead to feelings of detachment and a why bother to get to know someone attitude.
Unlike the issues relating to pay or a lack of being challenged – both of which originate with you and can therefore be addressed by you, there is little if anything you can do regarding employee turnover. In fact the only thing you can do, is learn to live and thrive within the scope of this new reality.
This means that while making lasting connections with coworkers can be difficult, you can still build meaningful relationships by adopting an entrepreneurial mindset.
As an entrepreneur you have a higher degree of independence and accountability to self. This will enable you to maximize the value of the time you spend with co-workers, without becoming completely dependent on them beyond immediate projects.
I am not suggesting that you turn into a lone wolf, operating on an cool,arms-length basis with everyone at the office. What I am saying is that you have to adjust your way of thinking to become self-reliant and self-sufficient.
Interestingly enough, by taking this approach your relationship with co-workers might actually be more productive, as your combined efforts will be tasked-focused. This means that you will collectively increase your productivity and levels of success. Success as you know is is not only a great way to build better teams, it is also a positive force in boosting overall employee morale.
In The End It Is Up To YOU!
Hate in and of itself may be too strong a word. However, the fact that you have to really care about something before you can hate it, demonstrates that there is still a pulse in terms of your having a persevering interest in your job.
This believe it or not, is a positive.
However, once you get to the point of apathy, it is usually too late to turn it around with your present employer. It is not that you can’t take action, it is just unlikely that you will. In this instance, looking for a new and and exciting challenge with a different company might be a good idea.
This is the reason why your future career path and job satisfaction is in your hands.
So I ask you the question once again . . . what are you prepared to do?!
“Experiencing a toxic boss (female) at the moment, complete nightmare. I went on medical leave 4 months after starting a new job and when I returned I was given 2 work options. I picked the small project option. She has set out to sabotage it for the entire 8 months I have been working on it. Have been looking for another job within the same company for that entire 8 months…so far no luck.” – JC from Is your boss trying to sabotage your career . . . and what you can do about it!
Have you ever had to deal with a difficult relationship? It is to be certain not easy.
However, a difficult relationship becomes even more trying when it happens to be with your boss. Especially if like most people, you are dependent upon your job to pay the bills and keep a roof over your head.
As a result, you likely feel trapped and powerless.
In such a situation, work life becomes an exercise in endurance as opposed to being a rewarding and productive experience.
The question then becomes; what can I do about it?
“The lesson I learned was if your boss hates you, get out.” – RMS from Is your boss trying to sabotage your career . . . and what you can do about it!
Do I have to quit, suffer in silence or do I speak up and risk getting fired?
In today’s post I will zero in on the 5 key steps that will empower you to take back the reigns of your career aspirations, whatever they may be (and wherever they may lead).
1. Determine If You Are The Only One
While you do not want be seen as inciting rebellious behavior among co-workers or against the corporate culture, you’re probably not alone in your experiences in dealing with a difficult boss – employee relationship. In this regard, it’s important to seek feedback from fellow employees whom you trust (emphasis on the word trust), to confirm if the strain in your relationship with your boss is limited to an isolated personality conflict, or an overall management style.
A cautionary note, while it is important to seek meaningful feedback, you do not want to become a charter member of the “I hate the boss” movement. Getting caught in a commiserators club, will actually trap you more as opposed to setting you on the path to freedom.
2. Know With Whom You Are Dealing
If there appears to be a pattern of behavior on the part of your boss that extends to his or her relationship with other employees, then the next step would be to try and understand why they are compelled to act in such a manner.
There are some bosses who truly do not know that their behavior is problematic (The Reasonable Toxic Boss), or believe that this is in fact the most effective way to lead or manage people (The Rational Toxic Boss).
Regardless of the personality type, gaining this much needed perspective will help you to determine the next course of action you can take to resolve relationship issues with your boss.
3. Plan Your Approach
Based on feedback from your fellow employees, you have determined that it is not you, but the boss who is mostly responsible for the disconnect.
You have also identified your boss’ personality type, by the manner in which they deal with others.
You are now ready to approach your boss in terms of attempting to have a meaningful and productive dialogue.
For example, with the Rational Toxic Boss, a conciliatory approach in which you seek his or her guidance on helping to improve relations makes the most sense. With the Reasonable Toxic Boss, merely creating constructive awareness may be the ticket to better days ahead.
The key point to remember at this point, is that like most people, your boss likely has their good traits as well as less than desirable traits. None of us are perfect. Don’t approach them from a position of anger or frustration, but one that is firm, respectful and conciliatory.
By taking this approach, their reaction may surprise you.
4. Managing The Aftermath
Depending on how the discussion goes, you should schedule regular meetings with your boss in an effort to ensure that you are helping them to achieve their objectives or goals.
Establishing a consistent line of communication will enable you to build a rapport through which both you and your boss can derive the greatest benefits.
5. No Matter What The Outcome . . .
Finally, and no matter what happens, “never” as Mark Twain so aptly put it “argue with stupid people,” as “they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”
Always be both professional and courteous in your interactions with your boss no matter how unreasonable they may become. This rationale will help you to best showcase your true character as well as speak volumes to those watching, as you never know through whom your next opportunity may come.
Besides, conducting yourself is such a manner will both empower you as well as restore a sense of control over your life.
In conclusion, manage your attitude on a daily basis. How you view challenging situations will determine the outcomes you create, whether consciously or unconsciously.
To quote Sid Ridgley, a pragmatic strategist, how you see the world, how you handle stress and how you manage relationships are all linked to your thinking patterns. You don’t have to change who you are but you must be flexible in communicating with all types of people. Your ability to think differently will help you to identify solutions that can weather the storm with challenging bosses.
In this context, I would like to leave you with the following saying that has, over the years, become increasingly meaningful to me.
You sow a thought and reap an act.
You sow an act and reap a habit.
You sow a habit and reap a character.
You sow a character and reap your destiny.
Do you know the difference between the fear of success and the fear of failure?
My guide How To Make 2015 Your Breakout Year will not only help you to recognize the common obstacles that befall all of us, it will also enable you to take action within the framework of your own unique gifts and abilities to make this year your most successful ever.
I see being a chameleon as someone who cares enough to adapt to others communication style, to read the temperature of a meeting, for example and change to be able to resolve issues, make people feel comfortable and so on. It doesn’t necessarily mean changing who you are but being socially and/or politically savvy to understand that we need to be flexible – Roz Usheroff
The title to the introduction of my book The Future of You: Creating Your Enduring Brand is Before We start, Remember . . . To Thine Own Self Be True!
This is a principle that I have, over the years, written and talked about at length for good reason. Beliefs or “perceptions of self” determine your values and ultimately the goals you both set and work toward achieving in terms of your future success.
It all seems pretty straightforward, yet oftentimes it is not. Somewhere in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we mistakenly confuse being adaptable to surrendering our own beliefs and values as a means of fitting in.
The problem as described above arises when we deal in absolutes, or attempt to define ourselves and the world in which we live and work in terms of being either black or white.
In this context recognizing, as the old saying goes, that there are always three sides to every story or position, is good advice.
Another challenge presents itself when we lose sight of our motives.
The Difference Between Reasons and Motives
As a case in point, she writes about George, a Malaysian executive in an auto parts company who, after his company was acquired by a large multinational corporation, bristled at his new boss’ suggestion that “he needed to sell his ideas and accomplishments more aggressively.” Not being comfortable with this approach, George felt he was being put in the position of having to choose between “being a failure and being a fake.”
Talk about a black and white view of a situation.
The real question George’s story raises is simply this; does the ability and/or willingness to adapt ourselves like a chameleon, to a changing environment, mean that we have to compromise our personal values or beliefs?
In other words, when we are required to do something that makes us feel uncomfortable or forces us outside of our comfort zone, do we automatically sacrifice our authenticity if we comply?
Confronting this question represents the fork in the road between reasons and motives.
George no doubt had very good reasons for not wanting to follow his new boss’ direction. Prior to it’s acquisition, his old company “valued a clear chain of command and made decisions by consensus.” In other words, there was no need for promoting oneself as every decision was reached by way of a collaborative team effort. George was comfortable with this approach.
However with his new company, “George found himself working with peers who saw decision making as a freewheeling contest for the best-debated ideas.” Individualism and intrapreneurship were both encouraged and rewarded. This was something with which George was both unfamiliar and uncomfortable.
Based on his personal view, in resisting his boss’ direction George was taking the road of reasons, and in the process lost site of the motives for why he was there in the first place.
This is an important distinction in that our focus should be on the motives for why we do what we do, and the desired outcomes we want to achieve.
For example, a friend of mine does not always like going to the gym 3 times a week, but he does enjoy the benefits of being healthy and having more energy. His motives are to live a better and healthier life.
Given his busy schedule and the fact that he is often tired at the end of the day, he would no doubt have what many would consider to be good reasons for not going to the gym. But if those reasons prevent him from achieving his end goal, even if they have a degree of legitimacy, they ultimately undermine as opposed to strengthening him.
Or to put it another way, authenticity is not based on only doing those things with which we are most comfortable or enjoy doing. Authenticity is remaining true to your motives or intent while working towards a worthy and honorable goal, that serves the best interests of others as well as your own.
Does this mean that George has to overnight become a whirlwind of self-promoting energy, shedding any remnants of discomfort with stepping into the spotlight? No.
What it does mean is that instead of finding reasons not to do something, George should assess his actions in the context of his original motives for doing what he does.
If his motives are based upon helping his company to succeed and in the process develop into the best executive he can be, then by becoming intrapreneurial, he is actually maintaining his authenticity.
Conversely, and by choosing the road of reasons i.e. I have never worked like this in the past or we have never done things this way, represents more of an excuse than it does a stance.
Have you ever encountered the fork in the road between your reasons for not doing something and the motives that drive you towards your desired outcomes or goals?
What did you do? Which road did you take?
Over the many years that I have been an executive coach I have found it interesting that for the majority of my clients, the job interview is still one of the most challenging experiences to master.
For some, it is like a student who after studying for an exam, suddenly goes blank when the test paper is placed in front of them. They freeze in the interview and end up walking away replaying “could of, would of, should of” scenarios over and over again.
For others, there is the desire to get as much of “their story” out in the shortest time possible – leaving little room for actual dialogue with the interviewer.
In some instances, and rather than lacking confidence, some blow an interview by begin overconfident. These individuals act as if the position is already theirs – which is a good thing as I will discuss shortly – but make the mistake of coming across as being a know-it-all or arrogant.
In the end, whether you miss the mark in a job interview because your lucky suit was ruined or, present yourself as being tentative and unsure, the key going forward is to learn from your experiences and follow these simple tips to WOW them the next time;
It’s Not About You
We ultimately become self-conscious when we focus too much on ourselves and not on the other person. Even though this may be a once in a lifetime opportunity representing your dream job, the focus of the interview should not be about you, but about the interviewer’s needs and how they can best leverage your skills to help them to succeed.
When you focus on someone else’s interests and needs, you will be amazed at how quickly a feeling of nervousness dissolves into a sense of purpose and confidence.
Think back to when you were actively searching for your present job. Did you research the companies with whom you hoped to work? While far too many people make the mistake of looking for a job or position as opposed to seeking out the “right fit,” you probably targeted those organizations for which you could provide a needed expertise.
In your efforts to select a company, did you seek to understand the challenges that you could address? Were you effective in explaining how you could deliver a solution based on your skills and value? Were you convinced that your expertise and ability could best serve the company’s future vision?
The fact that you landed the job speaks to the effectiveness of your efforts.
Being prepared means that you cared enough about the opportunity to learn all you could about the company. This positions you to ask questions and truly engage the interviewer in a meaningful dialogue that builds rapport and understanding regarding your potential fit within the organization.
Don’t Rely on Your Resume To Do Your Talking
According to the Forbes article titled “Hire For Attitude” by Dan Schawbel, “when new hires failed, 89% of the time it was for attitudinal reasons and only 11% of the time for a lack of skill”.
In short, while having the prerequisite skill sets are important, demonstrating that you have the right attitude for the position is becoming the key to being hired.
This means that you have to seek ways to demonstrate that you are a perfect fit outside of simply listing your past positions and experiences.
You have to come across as an individual who views your day-to-day work as an opportunity to earn your place in the world, and that your passion and enthusiasm will continue even after you get the job.
In this light, consider the following questions when you are talking about your work history:
- What difference have you made in the past? What difference are you making right now?
- What key projects are you seeking out today that will result in greater value and importance to your organization’s (or business’s) future?
- How well have you worked with others in the past. Are you seen as being a team player who’s values align well with the culture of the company?
A Passion for Success?
I have always believed that passion is as much of an attitude as it is an emotion. This is an important distinction in that being passionate without focus and execution is simply wasted energy.
When you are passionate about something , be it a job or a hobby or for that matter any part of your life, you do everything you can to learn everything about it. In essence passion fuels commitment and commitment delivers results.
Before you walk into that interview ask yourself the following . . . am I passionate about this position. Does it provide me with more than a paycheck?
If you answer yes to these questions, then you will come across as a candidate that is not looking to land a job, but to make a difference in the lives of those with whom you hope to work.
Speak As If You Already Have The Job
Earlier I talked about the difference between arrogance and confidence.
I have always believed that confidence is the result of knowing your audience, being prepared, having a proven track record, and being earnestly passionate. When all of these elements come together, you are able to effectively communicate your value in terms of helping others to achieve their goals.
This means that during your interview, you will not speak from “this is what I would do if I had the position” perspective but, “this is what I will do when I have the position” certainty. In essence, you will encourage the interviewer to imagine that they have already decided to hire you and that you’re ready to forge ahead with a strategic plan of action.
Given that a study by Leadership IQ reported that out of the 20,000 new hires they had tracked, 46% of them failed within 18 months, means that the interviewer likely feels as much if not more pressure than the interviewee.
By following the above tips, you will be able to demonstrate that you are indeed the best fit for the position, and in the process provide the interviewer with the confidence to know that you are the right person for the job.
Have you overstayed you welcome with your present company or, when is it time to move on by Roz Usheroff
I found a recent article by Jack and Suzy Welch most interesting as it posed a question (or questions) that I would imagine many are afraid to ask. Okay, maybe not afraid of the question so much as the possible answer itself.
In Four Reasons to Quit Your Job, the Welch’s indicated that you should ask yourself the following questions before making the decision to leave your present job;
- do you want to go to work every morning?
- do you enjoy spending time with your coworkers?
- does your company help you fulfill your personal mission?
- can you picture yourself at your company in a year?
Obviously, and as the Welch article states, these are not exactly questions that are being presented for the first time. Let’s face it, who hasn’t wondered at some point in time, if their chosen field had suddenly become a minefield of disappointment and frustration.
The real question is whether you should leave if just one of the above is out of alignment. I know that there is a certain link between each of the questions and their corresponding answers i.e. if you don’t like spending time with your co-workers then you are not likely to look forward to going into the office every morning. But is it really a deal breaker? Perhaps if you are disconnected from your associates you might look for ways to discover points of common interest within the framework of your company’s goals. In other words, how can you work together to better achieve a shared objective from both a company as well as a personal standpoint.
Of course even with the desire to improve working relationships, it would be unrealistic to expect that you are going to always like and get along with everyone with whom you work. But if your company helps you to fulfill your personal mission, you are more likely to weather or at least seek to better manage difficult relationships within the context of this bigger picture.
So here is my point, which of the above four factors – or for that matter any other that you can think of – are a sign that it is time to move on?
In an excerpt from my book The Future of You! I would like to share with you the following personal experience:
When I began my career, I aspired to spend it in fashion retail management. I was accepted into one of the most intense and thorough retail management programs in the industry. The downside of such an honor is that it created the illusion that I was suited to manage people. As a result, and for several years, in addition to running the business side of retail I was also mandated to build a solid sales force. This included being responsible for hiring, firing, and motivating a sales team.
If the truth be known, I was just mediocre at managing staff. I certainly knew it and perhaps my team did as well, especially given the fact that my passion for the assigned task waned when I had to push them to exceed their sales goals.
In this regard, my experience with one particular company stands out.
Due to construction, a parking lot that was adjacent to the store was closed for several months. Consequently, traffic was reduced by more than 60 percent. Despite the circumstances, leadership continued to set high sales targets. I vehemently disagreed with these “unrealistic” targets and commiserated with the sales team for being placed in a no-win situation. Despite my misgivings, I was nonetheless mandated to fire low producers and pressure top performers to move more merchandise with high pressure selling. Perhaps if I were highly competitive, I would have risen to the occasion.
However, my personal focus was on building my own clientele based on establishing a strong rapport and trust, and ensuring that customers were purchasing styles that best complimented their body shape and lifestyle.
After some deep soul searching, I had to admit that the “disconnect” between leadership’s objectives and my personal values and goals meant that I was a lousy manager in that I didn’t know how to motivate a frustrated sales force. It took a couple of years more to finally acknowledge that management was not my strength and that my discontentment was being transferred to my staff. My work was at best mediocre and the days felt like they were getting longer and longer. My passion no longer existed and my energy level hit rock bottom. I became a mechanical manager in an energy-robbing role.
In retrospect, that should have been a warning for me to leave. I was doing a job, not living my dream.
In the end, the fulfillment of my personal mission – or lack thereof – was a non-negotiable factor. I can deal with difficult relationships or long hours (for a time), and even the pressure involved with the management of an important project. After all, I have viewed these situational issues as being part of any business no matter what you do or who you do it with. But what I could not do, was be less than honest with myself and with my employer.
What this means is that your personal mission statement should ultimately be your conscience or guide when you consider where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow.
Given your current position, how does what you do today align with your personal mission? This to me is the first and most important question to ask . . . and answer.
No!… But, I have my own company for about 20 years now. And if anyone should be fired it should be me. Thanks to my team for keeping me on the straight and narrow. So, I guess the answer is choose loyal, faithful people, let them know you can goof up, and they will cover your butt. Be sure to recognize their input regularly – Caroline Bond
Of the many comments regarding my last post On The Firing Line (Part 1): How to respond if you ever hear the words “your fired,” the one above stood out as the perfect segue into today’s post.
If you have ever been a boss or had the responsibility to oversee the work of others, then you will likely have been put in the position of having to fire someone, or know of someone who has.
Obviously an unpleasant duty, I cannot help but think that given the litigious nature of today’s workplace, coupled with the belt and suspenders focus on avoiding legal action, very few companies actually take the time to look beyond the event itself.
Specifically, how did the employer – employee relationship break down to the point that termination was the only remaining option?
After all, no one looks to start a new job with the intention of one day being fired. Nor do the managers who do the hiring. So why does it happen?
The answer I believe rests in Caroline Bonds’ response. Within her words you can find two key points as to how one can avoid being on either side of the firing line.
To start, she demonstrates a disarming humility when she states if anyone should be fired it should be me. Thanks to my team for keeping me on the straight and narrow.
Whenever we look upon our position as one in which we are the boss, the ultimate lawgiver so to speak, we create a wedge between ourselves and those we have supposedly chosen to work with us as part of our team.
The story of a rising young executive named Randy, about whom I wrote in my book, immediately comes to mind here.
With an expected promotion on the near horizon, Randy had a bright future. Unfortunately, he equated being a successful leader with producing results at the expense of establishing and nurturing relationships. Despite overseeing an important project that was successfully completed in eight months as opposed to the estimated twelve months ̶ with an overall savings of $350,000.00 ̶ he forgot an essential leadership quality. In his haste to succeed, Randy failed to recognize the need to be inclusive and acknowledge the contributions of others as absolute “must haves” in order to rally the team and reinforce management’s decision to promote him.
In the end, Randy did not receive the much anticipated promotion because as the CEO put it, “no one wants to work with you again.”
Unlike Caroline, Randy never established the connection with his team either as individuals or collectively.
The second key point in Caroline’s comment So, I guess the answer is choose loyal, faithful people, let them know you can goof up, and they will cover your butt, is an obvious yet elusive quest.
According to a CareerBuilder Survey two-thirds of American companies have made business mistakes surrounding the hiring of employees. Sixty-nine percent of those employers who responded to the survey indicated that bad hires had “lowered their company’s productivity, affected worker morale and even resulted in legal issues.”
So who is ultimately responsible for a bad hire . . . and the resulting need to terminate someone’s employment?
Rather than getting into how one should conduct a proper series of interviews as this in and of itself would provide the basis for a separate post, I would simply say that the person doing the hiring ultimately bears the responsibility.
When Caroline chose her people, I would imagine that they possessed qualities that best aligned with hers. Once they joined the team, Caroline then created the work environment that nurtured these individual traits and in the process empowered each employee to perform at their very best.
This is of course the responsibility of any employer. Within this context, and if and when you find yourself in the position of having to let someone go, view the situation through this more enlightened and compassionate lens. Or to put it another way, there are three sides to most every story. With the exception of those rare instances where an employee has acted with malice intent, chances are the employer has played at least some part in the employee’s inability to do the desired job.
Perhaps the best way to sum it all up is by referring to the closing paragraphs from a recent article by Inc. Magazine columnist Jeff Haden.
In his article “I Fired Joe, and We Both Have to Live With It” Haden would write;
Hiring, firing, disciplining, promoting… each is an everyday task for a leader. You need to make difficult and agonizing decisions about employees. So you think, you decide, you act, and then you put that decision behind you and move on.
That’s the job.
Yet doing that job can dramatically change the life of other people. No matter how hard you try to get every decision that changes another person’s life right, sometimes you won’t. Those decisions — and those regrets — you soon realize you will live with forever.
Those decisions — and those regrets — you soon realize will also change your life.
Hats off to all of you who try desperately to get every people decision right… and then pay the unseen price of wondering whether you got one wrong.