Do Something. Make it Better.

To do their jobs well, leaders need to be self-starting and self-directed. Rarely do you have a playbook that guides you on what needs to be done and when. One of the many qualities that good leaders possess is the ability to step up, filter what’s going on, take action, and be accountable. How do you stack up?

As someone in the business of advising executives, I’m intrigued when I come across people in senior roles whose perceptions of what they should be doing are so clearly different from the realities of their organizations.

People in senior roles are held to a higher standard. That said, they don’t always act that way. Here are some of the excuses that I hear most frequently.

“I’m not paid enough to do this.” We can expect this kind of response from a mid-lower level employee, but it’s inappropriate from someone in a more senior role. Usually these people aren’t paid more because their self-perception of their value is lower than their employer’s view. Stop whining and get the job done….or get another job.

“I don’t want to do xyz.” Sometimes a tantrum accompanies this one, but with or without the tantrum, it plays out like a sulking child. If you don’t want to do xyz, do something else. Make it better.

“I’ve tried everything and don’t know what else to do.” This is a variation on the previous pout, although this one is less like a pouting child and more like a victim. Get your team together. Brainstorm. Again, do something else. Make it better.

“We’ve tried this before and it doesn’t work.” That statement might be fine if your company functions in a static environment in a market that is standing still. Today’s world changes by the nanosecond and something that didn’t work before may be the perfect solution now. Be open-minded about trying it (or a variation) again.

“I’m too busy to deal with this.” That’s fine if “this” is a minor, inconsequential issue. Burying your head in the sand and ignoring a serious challenge verges on malpractice in some situations. Make the time to deal with it.

If you have senior people who more or less fit one of these “types”, you need to be self-starting and self-directed and fix it. The longer the behavior goes unchecked, the worse it will get. If you want to talk about a particular scenario, feel free to reach out.

Have a great day!

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