Set Your Own Targets

Ask Roxanne!

Dear Roxanne,

My manager is a very decent guy, but not much of a leader. As a result, the place is falling apart. Everyone is reverting back to high school behaviors. I want to stay the course, so I’ve been asking the boss for some position targets so I can know what I’m aiming for. He keeps saying, “You’re doing just fine,” which doesn’t help a bit. What can I do to get some clarity?—Denise E.

Dear Denise,

Good for you for rising about the ruckus, and targets will help you do that. It’s ideal if management sets targets for you, but if they won’t, you need to do it yourself. I wrote today’s column with you in mind. Tell me how it goes!—Roxanne

Do you have a question about how to handle a situation or a relationship in the workplace? Ask Roxanne!


Set Your Own Targets

Sometimes bosses just don’t get it. And when they don’t, many employees find that a ready-made excuse to disengage.

But organizations only thrive when EVERY person takes 100 percent responsibility for the result. And if you’re going to play a role in the breakthrough, “The Victim” isn’t the role that will get you an Oscar.

Saw my buddy, an attorney, at a ball game recently. Slightly under the influence, he asked, “Roxanne, you still working with companies to help them get their employees to act like grown-ups?”

“Well, that’s not exactly what I do,” I said. “I help businesses double growth, profits, and service scores in a few months. I get the needles moving quickly for them. The employee stuff is just a part of how we do it. Why do you ask?”

He smiled. “After 35 years of practicing law, I have only heard business owners say one thing on the day we close the sale of their business: ‘I didn’t sell for the money.’ I used to be shocked by that. They also didn’t sell because they stopped loving the business. You know what every one of them says on the day of closing? They sold because they couldn’t wait to get away from the employees.”

Well then, that’s interesting. There probably IS some fault on the employee side. Let’s put THAT under the microscope. Every person is an employee…even if you’re the CEO. If you’re the top dog, you simply have more bosses with higher expectations.

It is the responsibility of every team member is to put on their grown-up pants and bring that higher self to work every single day. It’s a choice. We only act like children in the workplace because we don’t stop to reflect on how unattractive it is when adults fail to hold their behaviors to higher standards than children.

So employees have a role. First, they have to understand that they choose their attitude moment by moment.

Just because life isn’t perfect—and it never is—that doesn’t give them the right to pout, sabotage, hold back, or otherwise give free rein to their destructive behaviors.

Next, employees must take responsibility for getting a crystal-clear understanding of their critical drivers and report on those on a weekly basis. It’s not okay to play the victim card and complain incessantly about the long hours you’re working while you’re missing the targets—even if your boss didn’t give you those targets.

Take the initiative yourself. Lay out what you think the targets are, get agreement from your boss, then take aim and fire. You won’t hit every target every time. Demonstrate integrity and transparency by letting your boss know what you hit, what you missed, and what your corrective action plan is to improve your aim.

Most important: as an employee, you have the right and even the moral obligation to understand that leadership is not a position—it’s a way of being. And YOU can be the one who brings enlightenment to your workplace by showing others the way.

Taking accountability for your attitude and your focused results that tie into the objectives of your company and department is the fastest way to a promotion, a raise, and a life of sanity and abundance. The great news is this…it’s simple. There’s only two parts—choosing a more productive attitude and creating clarity and focusing all your activities toward those critical drivers.

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