It’s become a national sport to go home and complain about the boss or coworkers or the job itself. A lot of times it’s accompanied by a muttered promise: “As soon as I find something else, I am outta here.”
Whenever I hear that, I think, “This person is projecting their own stuff. And if they quit, they’re probably not going to like the next job either. Or the job after that. Or the job after that.” The problem is…everywhere you go…there you are!
If you complain about someone instead of going directly to the person to fix the problem, you’re really hurting two people: The one who has to sit and listen to you, which is never fun, and the person you are talking down, because you are not helping them in any kind of productive way.
So the only person to complain about in this scenario…is you!
Integrity requires that we skip the eye-rolling conversations with teammates or spouses and instead put on our grown-up pants and go authentically to that person, and that person only, to make a specific request to make things better. It may seem like an impossibly scary thing, but if you approach honestly and with care, focused only on resolving the problem instead of casting blame, you’ll be amazed at what is possible.
You’ll also be amazed at how the clouds of negativity disperse from your own dinner table!
Business guru Guy Kawasaki talks about the vital importance of “enchanting” customers. Enchantment is the process of delighting customers with a product, service, or organization. When you enchant a customer, you get long-lasting allegiance and deep-rooted success.
But it can’t begin and end there, and it too often does. Some people get so caught up in the day-to-day challenge of enchanting with products and services that they forget about the organization itself, and all those drivers that make things happen behind the scenes.
Kawasaki teaches that the other constituent that you need to “enchant” is your boss. Now, that may sound a little self-serving for the boss. So let’s dissect.
If your boss is a “rainmaker”—someone who is bringing in or taking care of customers, then he is YOUR customer. So, in order for your boss to create a great result for his customer, then you have to delight your customer—your boss.
Also, your boss has many requirements of things to be done and, if a good time manager, when working on something, probably needs to finish it quickly so he can move on to the next thing.
So if your boss asks for something, the request means now. Drop everything and make that happen. That’s part of the enchantment formula—keep the rainmaker moving. So every day, even as you enchant customers directly, think about how you can help your boss keep things moving along behind the scenes.
We’ve all worked with people who spend all their time plotting and planning, saying one thing and meaning another, smiling to your face while stabbing you in the back.
Author and business strategist Stephen MR Covey calls it “counterfeit behavior”— the sweet-talking to others’ faces and badmouthing behind their backs that plagues so many workplaces. Lying, spinning, posturing, manipulating. Saying something that is technically true but intentionally leaves the wrong impression.
Yuck. Even thinking about it gives me the shivers.
It isn’t always immediately clear what’s going on. People may not see the hidden agenda, but they sense it, and trust goes down. The lack of trust spreads like a contagion. Instead of taking responsibility, people begin to point fingers and blame others. They start listening without understanding, and promising without delivering.
It’s a recipe for workplace disaster.
The antidote is authentic behavior. Straight talk. Honesty. Speaking about people as if they were present. In short, it’s simple ethics—you treat others as you would like to be treated. Because that too is contagious.
Whatever job you are doing, chances are you could shave off substantial time and get the same result, or use the same amount of time and DOUBLE the result, just by saying, “How can this be done differently to create a better outcome in less time?”
But we rarely do it. We dive right in and flail around, thinking a quick start is the best way to save time. No way.
This is especially important as we mature in our work. In fact, it’s the WAY we mature. Some people never get this, so they don’t improve, and they’re in the same job for 20 years because their performance is always the same. That’s not good.
If they’ve been in the same job for 20 years, their performance should be DRAMATICALLY improved from when they started. They should be able to get the same results in half the time, or twice the results in the same time—at a minimum.
Otherwise…what were those 20 years really about?
This doesn’t happen all at once. You don’t ask yourself, “How can I do this twice as fast?” Every day we should be asking the question, “How can I do this a little bit better, a little more efficiently?” Over time, those little efficiencies add up to a powerful result.
Psychologists tell us that all emotions are rooted either in love or in fear. Anger, for example, is a symptom of fear. You can’t be angry if you’re not afraid. Joy is based in love. You can’t feel bliss without having love at the core. Fear is a “moving-away-from” emotion. Love is “moving-toward.”
Take a moment to analyze the disastrous decisions you’ve made. It’s not easy to look such decisions in the eye, but it’s well worth it. A pattern of “moving away” from something will generally emerge. Moving away from missing a quota. Moving away from confronting a problem in the relationship with your supervisor.
One very common pattern is moving away from one company or boss as opposed to moving toward a bigger calling. You hate where you are, so you flee, instead of choosing to love where you want to be and running toward it.
There’s a reason for the saying, “Out of the frying pan, into the fire.” Too many of the changes we make are exactly that.
So the next time you need to make a decision, ask yourself if you’re moving away from something or moving toward something, and always choose to move toward. Once you master that assessment, it’s amazing how much better your decision-making and results will become.