Your concerns are their concerns

 
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Jared Sandberg had a great column in the Wall Street Journal this week titled: "Your Boss's Obsession Too Often Becomes Your Job Obligation." Here's his lead.

"When the boss has a pet passion, staffers can find themselves engaging in activities they've never tried -- probably because they never wanted to. Sometimes an executive's personal pursuits can help build communities. But they can also stir mild guilt trips or bigger shakedowns. And so the staff is a captive audience for their manager's jazz-band gigs, elegies over his approach shot to the 17th green, or any other avocation mistaken as part of the vocation."

This piece should be required reading for anyone in a leadership position. The higher your position on the organizational chart, the more you should read it. To help you get the most from the column, I offer the following observations.

Your job as a boss is to accomplish the mission of your organization and care for the people who are part of it. It is not to further your beliefs. It is not to develop support for worthy causes.

Because you are the boss, the people who work for you are likely to take your "wishes," expressed verbally and otherwise, as commands. At the very least they will feel pressure to go along. Only the most courageous and/or foolhardy among them will tell you this.

The higher you move up the hierarchy the more people tell you what you want to hear, filter the information that you get, and avoid telling you unpleasant truths. The natural human reaction to this is to believe that everyone agrees with you and that you're doing a great job, even when they hate you, think you're a jerk and think the place would be better off with Krusty the Clown at the helm.

Given all these things it is prudent to heed Proverbs 16:18. "Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall."

Wally's Working Supervisor's Support Kit is a collection of information and tools to help working supervisors do a better job. It's based on what Wally's learned in over twenty years of supervisory skills training. Click here to check it out.

 
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Wally Bock has helped people learn to be great bosses for more than a quarter century. His latest book, Performance Talk: The One-on-One Part of Leadership, makes learning key leadership principles almost effortless by teaching through a story and providing lists of resources for further growth.

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  • 12/13/2007 1:30 PM Steve Roesler wrote:
    Wally, this strikes a chord.

    During my last corporate job years ago, I refused to contribute to the United Way because of no control over distribution of funds at that time. There was a "cause" that conflicts with my moral beliefs.

    My boss had "a talk" with me about being a "team player". I wouldn't budge.

    What did he do?

    He contributed in MY name in order to have 100% participation.

    Why?

    His boss was in charge of the corporate effort and would be seen in a better light the greater the giving.

    I ultimately left the company.
    Reply to this
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