During a break at class last week, one of my adult students mentioned that he was talking with his dad about the topics we discuss in our Principles of Management class.¬† He said his dad got SO angry and frustrated when he started to talk about them because it reminded him of his workplace.¬† His dad has been in a leadership position for over 25 years in a major corporation and believes he is powerless to change anything.¬† He was right‚Ä¶..because when you believe you are powerless you are.
I see that a lot.¬† People feel powerless to get anything done, see the politics, the mistreatment and they want to throw in the towel.¬† Trust me‚Ä¶ I felt that way many times.¬† But you can‚Äôt.¬† Throwing in the towel is the worst thing you can do.¬† I hear people say ‚ÄúBut Jeff‚Ä¶.if they don‚Äôt want to change why should I?‚Äù¬† My answer‚Ä¶it‚Äôs not about ‚Äúthem‚Äù it‚Äôs about you! 25 years from now, do you want to look back and say you didn‚Äôt make a difference‚Ä¶..or worse yet, you didn‚Äôt even try?¬† Throw in the towel and that is exactly what you have done. You will feel you wasted your entire career and not accomplished anything or made a difference.
You can ALWAYS make a difference for the people who report to you, your peers and others you touch in the organization.¬† Fix the things you can fix.¬† Push initiatives as far as you can.¬† Treat your people well‚Ä¶.even if you feel mistreated.¬† (You know in your heart what you should be doing‚Ä¶. I don‚Äôt have to give you a list!)¬†¬†¬† People think they have power because they are not a Director or VP…WRONG!¬† When you start to clean up issues in your area the impact you have will become very apparent. ¬†Even if senior management seems ‚Äúungrateful‚Äù or doesn‚Äôt ‚Äúcare.‚Äù¬† SO WHAT???¬† ¬†I tell participants in my leadership series that we all do things out of self interest (be honest‚Ä¶you do).¬† Well, that‚Äôs the reason you want to ‚Äúpress on.‚Äù ¬†¬†25 years from now you don‚Äôt want to look back and think you didn‚Äôt make a difference.¬† You make a difference every day, every week, every month, and every year by doing your job to the best of your ability and not throwing in the towel.¬† The cumulative effect is huge.¬† Press on‚Ä¶ make a difference as a leader.¬† Not for the company‚Ä¶.but for you.