Are You the Problem?
“It isn’t you, it’s me.” This is a great answer when you are trying to let someone down gently, but when it is your work and you are really invested – recognizing this is really difficult.
Let’s ask ourselves some questions to find out if this really is your situation:
- Do you feel like you know more than your boss? Or that you are doing your boss’s job in addition to yours?
I was killing myself trying to make up for the things I thought that my boss should be doing. I assumed that this is what they should do, because I thought being better is was our shared goal.
- Do you feel like you are the only one with a clear vision of where your company, department, organization needs to go? Or that you are the only one in leadership working towards the goal that has been set?
I had a great team working toward the vision our owners set as a goal, but we were carrying the rest of the organization to this strategic goal. Again, I thought being better is what they expected of me.
- You may be getting recognized for doing a great job, but do you get the impression that if you weren’t working so hard that it would be okay with the company?
This is the big one – the signal that you might be the problem.
I know what it means to be working really hard, but I finally had to accept that the organization I worked for didn’t really want to be better. The decision-makers and leaders who defined our strategy and goals were content where they were – they weren’t breaking any laws, doing anything unethical but they weren’t striving to improve either. I was pushing them to be something they didn’t want to be. Don’t get me wrong, it makes me sad that they could have been so much more; however, that was my vision for the potential I saw, not their vision or the results they were striving for.
That was when I made a choice. Leaving was the best thing that I could do for both myself and the organization I worked for. I found a place that wanted my passion and drive for being better. My old company is still doing well, content with where they are in the market and no one went up in flames. Much to my chagrin – I was the problem. I was making others unhappy by pushing them, and I was unhappy having to push them.
I now realize this is like me going over to my baby who is perfectly content to take my wooden spoon and smack it to a pot, and force her to “play with it the right way.” She was content and now I am pushing her to do something else. The tough lesson is that sometimes, we just need to let others be content, no matter how much they could be better and in our eyes, should be.