If you have been following my work for any significant amount of time, you know that I am not one to dwell on the negative behavior of others. My focus is on introspection and building resilience and developing transformative insight in the face of adversity. I believe in taking responsibility for not only my own actions, but also for my responses to other people’s actions. As a leader, no matter where you are on the organizational chart, you always benefit from declaring yourself “The One” and being pro-active rather than reacting to other circumstances or people. This is especially true for those of us who have to deal with toxic bosses.
I often share the stories of successful turnarounds I have been involved in throughout my career in hopes of having others reapply the proven methods and accelerate the rate of their own progress. I am also fully aware that these stories sometimes make it sound like I always knew what to do and that I always took the right steps toward achieving my goals. Needless to say, as I try to often mention, that wasn’t the case at all. The journeys that have a happy ending hardly ever feel like that along the way, and my journey is no exception to this rule. Indeed, in my case, for every one thing my team and I did right, there were five things we got wrong and needed to fix, and in most cases, it was my fault too.
Many of us secretly wish we had more authority or fantasize about how we would handle things if one day we were the boss. Some of us tell ourselves that, if only we were in charge, things would be different, while others have resigned themselves to being victims of circumstances that we believe we have no power to change. .For those of you who are in either place, the good news is that you don’t have to be the boss to start a transformation at your workplace. You may not have ultimate power and authority to make all the decisions, and your progress may be hindered by some of the policies and practices over which you don’t have direct influence, but if you are truly committed to transforming the experience of your workplace, there is a lot you can do to make it happen no matter where you are on the organizational chart. This episode is intended to encourage you to take on leading a culture transformation exactly where you are right now and give you some ideas on how you might make that happen.
If you have ever had someone on your team whose performance is just not up to acceptable standards, you know that it creates a drain not only in the form of the results they fail to produce but in several other less quantifiable ways. The energy and effort that it takes to try to figure out what it takes to have them turn their performance around, their negative impact on morale as others perceive them as not pulling their weight, and the organizational waste that is created by all the conversations around the issue do far more lasting damage than whatever tangible gaps exist in the individual’s results. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that their poor results are a secondary symptom of the problem, while the primary problem itself is all the cultural and interpersonal issues that precipitate their lack of performance.
Whether you are a leader with formal authority and a title, or someone who aspires to expand your influence to make a greater difference in your results or the lives of others, you’d be wise to examine your behavior and habits and be intentional about making the adjustments you need to make on the front end to be more effective. As I reflected on the many times I have guided leaders in the process of identifying the mindsets and behaviors they should own up to in themselves, I decided to publish these tips that we can all use to transform the impact we have on others.