Our developments in life are often predicated by tough love. Some times people tell us what we want to hear and some times people tell us what we have to hear. It is the metaphorical slap in the face by someone we respect telling us to stop acting like a baby and get our shit together.
People who risk alienating us may indeed be brave enough to save us. It might be a performance review, advice on the state of our start-up venture, or a friend telling us to dump the person we have been pretending to love.
We would rather hear that we are great than to hear we suck. This validates our behavior and keeps us on our path....which is awesome if we are moving forward. However, if the path we are strolling is a downward spiral to mediocrity, someone might need to grab us by our collar and slap us.
We all want to be loved by our peers, but if we love the people with whom we work, we owe them the favor of honesty.
When is it time to ring up the proverbial wake up call?
It's Time For You To Quit!
There are studies that measure one's level of engagement. Most of these studies tell us that half the people in the workforce hate their job. There is no merit to a survey that uses canned questions to tell a detached CEO that the company is doomed. You can, however, tell if someone is actively disengaged just by sitting next to them.
If a morning salutation is met with 17 different complaints (involving deeply personal insults at one's boss and co-workers) that person is beyond help. Some times the best advice you can give someone is that it is time for them to leave. I consistently preach the value of organizational culture and how engagement can improve retention. With that said, a certain degree of autonomy can be healthy. Some times people need a clean slate simply for the sake of losing their baggage.
Disengaged employees are poison! They turn Super Stars into skeptics, destroy optimism, and deflate every room they enter. They give the well-intentioned a reason to hate life because misery loves company. Over time, we tire of these grumps and they end up in the break room talking to themselves.
I'm Going To Tell You Something You Don't Want to Hear!
The majority of our peer conversations could be categorized as verbal complaint files. When we are frustrated we want to hear that our side of the story is the truth. We want validation that our frustration is not a result of our failure but the fault of others to understand our brilliance. In reality, when we fail to recognize our faults, we default to neutral.
People will nod their head, pat you on the back, and buy you a beer. Shortly after, they will call everyone of your co-workers and tell them to stay away from you. We often think that we are influencing others to join the resistance when they are actually marking us to be quarantined.
The Power of Giving Up
Are you motivated by the need to prove others wrong? There is no achievement in that game. Are you trying to motivate your employees by telling them they can keep their job if they perform well? If so, they will do just enough to stay employed.
Some times you need to pack up your baggage and leave the past behind. There is always reflection in change and an ability to re-create ourselves. There is no shame in quitting something you hate doing.
The best way to help someone understand that they are ruining your company culture is to ask them to validate their complaints with action items. If they have no answers, they will cast themselves upon the island of the malcontent.
Let them go. They will thank you later!
Don't Forget to Remember!