A security man has a dream that the plane his boss is supposed to take the next day is going to crash. When he wakes up he calls his boss at home and tells him. His boss decides not to take the plane. Sure enough the plane crashes. The relieved boss calls the young man to his office and gives him a reward — and then fires him. Slightly confused the man asks why. The boss replies, “You were sleeping on the job.”
There are good bosses and then there are bad bosses. Most bosses I know try their best to be good but the current working scenario just could not afford them the luxury. This I will explain.
How many among you believe that as your boss wakes up in the morning he or she will be thinking: “Let me see now…..what can I do for you today?”
While my partners and I teach and train people on leadership skills, while we emphasize the importance of connecting with one’s people and inner circle in the work place, while we shout out the fact that “People will not go along with the leader unless they get along with the leader…..” The fact remains that even though your leader is as nice and magnanimous as he or she can be, nobody will care about your career more than you do. Well with a few exceptions like perhaps your parents or your spouse. What this means is that you have to take responsibility for managing your own career and never even for a moment consider leaving it to anyone else.
Your bosses, your co-workers, your direct reports are mainly focused on themselves and their careers. This is not to say that those around you at work are not interested in helping you succeed, but their own career’s trajectory, projects and future promotions will be their main concern. This is why you should start thinking like you’re the boss. You are a company of one and that is You Inc. as Tom Peters would say. Start cultivating the mindset of a CEO, marketing manager, HR director maybe. Or perhaps the head of product design and you be the talent coordinator, the agent representing yourself. Start cultivating an employer’s mindset. The employee mindset person will never get ahead in life because he or she is merely compliant while the employer mindset person is committed.
Job security today is a myth. No company is crazy enough to offer lifetime employment. Only you can guarantee yourself lifetime employability. International competition, mergers and acquisitions have eradicated job security but the fact remains that no company want to lose good people. Work stats in America reveal that the average working American will now have between ten and twelve jobs and three to five careers during his or her lifetime. Meanwhile, people across the board – including your boss, his or her boss, and the bosses of your bosses are being asked to juggle more and more assignments, often combining the responsibilities of two or three people into one job. Of course you know what this is called: “Multi-tasking.” They’re having a hard time making their own careers work so how can they have the time to take care of yours?
Knowing yourself is as important as knowing how to do the job.
Not only cows or cattle are branded. Ask the marketing experts. They will tell you that you yourself should build your own brand. A brand that says you are not only good in what you do, you are a master craftsman. You are reliable and trustworthy. You have the drive to succeed. And you have the leadership skills needed to help propel your people and your company to greater heights and success.
If you want to stay competitive and ahead of the game, keep your hard skills sharp. But work hard on your soft skills too. Making this happen is not your employer’s responsibility, it’s yours. All things being equal, the person with a better attitude is always preferred over one who does not have it. The world does not owe you a living. Your years of stay in a company should match your growth in skills and abilities. Seniority today is not a basis for getting ahead unless you have the necessary skills to show it. Self-leadership is the key.