It’s widely agreed that people don’t leave their jobs, they leave bosses.
And whilst I agree that poor leadership is often the reason for an unhappy employee I think it’s also fair to consider sometimes, just sometimes, it could be something to do with us.
I hear a lot of people whingeing.
About others leaving dirty cups in the kitchen. About someone who talks loudly when they’re trying to concentrate. About bosses who don’t tell you anything. About people at work they just don’t like.
When something goes wrong, it’s human nature to start looking for other things. (Think about your last bad flight/hotel experience).
Let me show you how this works. Exhausted after an intense period of work, the lover and I booked a cute little house for a mini break. Lovely and light, secluded, on a bay. On a bay were the key words here.
It should have come with a HUGE warning - MOZZIES INVADE HERE. Sneaking in under cover of dusk armies of mosquitoes hid under beds and behind curtains waiting for the signal of quiet bodies to attack. It was a long hard battle with the hero personally killing at least 70. No sleep. All night. We fell asleep as the sun came up, amidst a battle field of dead bodies.
We will always remember The Great Mosquito Massacre. They lost more men but they still won. Because we lost the best part of a day and a night's sleep on a 3 day break. And although the next morning the owner called by with mozzie zappers because she remembered she should have told us (oops – silly me!) we were pretty unhappy.
So from there I noticed that there wasn’t anywhere to hang towels.
There wasn’t enough cooking utensils – where was the slotted spoon for poached eggs?
The lounge wasn’t comfy.
The TV was at a bad angle and unwatchable.
You get the point.
When something happens at work that makes us unhappy it’s natural for us to start looking for other things that aren’t right. Fuelled by the Office Miserable Bastard Society, you start to find more and more things, and together the whole work experience spirals until one day you start dreading going to work.
Beware the Mosquito Syndrome. Is what's happening really important or does it really not matter? When my boys were small, I soon had to chose what to worry about. Was what they were doing potentially fatal? If it wasn’t, if they could only break a limb, then I didn’t worry about it.
If you are truly unhappy in your role, don’t stay there and whinge. You will end up being President of the Miserable Bastards Society and infesting others with your attitude. You’ll keep a list of all the bad stuff, bottle it up and take it home with you, then take it out on your poor other half, who wonders what happened to the person they fell in love with.
Take a look at that list and make a decision about each one. Is it potentially life threatening, a non negotiable for your workplace?
Dirty coffee cups left in the sink?
Address it. Leave the cups on the culprit's desk if you know them. And you know, don’t feel you must clean them up. That is YOUR CHOICE.
Bosses who are secretive?
Address it. They may not actually realise it. Ask them the plans for 2017 and beyond. How will they move the company forward? Be interested in your own career.
Someone who is too loud?
Address it. Find a way to frame it in a respectful way and tell them.
People you just don’t like.
Everyone has some redeeming features! If you can’t find any, consider how much you have to do with this person.
All the stuff you’re unhappy about requires you to take responsibility and speak up. And if you can’t speak up because you think no one will listen, that means you really are in an organisation that you need to leave.
But ask yourself, is the real reason that I’m not speaking up my fear of confrontation?
This article was first published in micenet magazine, Nov 17
Lynne Schinella is a conference speaker, speaker coach, and author of Bite Me! and other do's and don'ts of dealing with our differences.
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