All this time, this person is being evaluated based on how they lead the team they are not officially leading. They are even being measured based on the performance of people who don’t report to them and don’t know this is happening. Eventually, they may get promoted to the position they’ve been doing unofficially. Is that leveling up in your career, or is it wage theft?
Take a hard look at what leaders are saying about layoffs and what they focus on. Do they seem personally hurt and concerned for the people leaving? Do they have honest and transparent explanations for why they made these decisions? Or do they repeat platitudes about “recession,” costs, and other bits of financial jargon to explain away something so painful to the same people they were calling part of the family a week ago?
Families don’t cut the number of kids when money gets tight. Your workplace is not a family and does not deserve a level of commitment that matches your family or your health. Layoffs are sometimes necessary, but mostly just a nice tool to perk up the value of a company for a specific part of the structure or to make up for mistakes made by the same people making these job cuts.
That’s business. I’ve argued for years that business has a vested interest in employee well-being. Caring about your people is how you get their best. I hope leaders will continue to grow in that regard, but as an individual employee, you need to care about yourself more. If your job isn’t meeting your career needs in terms of money, development, or work-life balance, find a better one. You owe them nothing. They pay you to do a job until they decide not to. You owe them that work.
That is all.
Think about it, someone in management who has never learned how to communicate will have a team unaware of what is happening. Leaders who follow the examples of those above them, who’ve created a misogynistic culture, will continue with the same practices. When things don’t go smoothly, managers getting berated from above will berate the people below them. And on and on it goes.
If we want a healthier, open, and inclusive workplace, we need to train the people in charge of setting the tone and the culture. All the lunchtime yoga and meditation in the world can’t overcome that shortcoming.
The article below mentions something we’ve all seen way too many times. The manager who gets promoted, but never developed any of their reports to do their job, and winds up having to continue doing it. In the worst-case scenario, since the culture was not to develop people to replace you, that person is probably also learning the new role from scratch while still doing a large chunk of their old role.
What a waste of time and talent.
My hypothesis, and the reason for my list above, is that leaders don’t talk about being leaders any more than brilliant people talk about being smart or kind people talk about being kind. They just do it, and it shows. Leaders set the example, help others succeed, and solve problems. They share credit and take the blame. They are constantly learning from others instead of setting themselves apart. People follow them because of those characteristics. These are people you want to follow. They don’t have to raise a flag and beg people to follow them any more than the most intelligent people have to remind you of how smart they are. Their actions show it.
As I’ve heard many people say, the problem is not that having managers is bad; it’s that there are so many bad managers out there. We don’t treat managing and leadership with the attention and importance it deserves, mainly because we don’t realize how much it matters. Good management is boring. (A point made in more detail in the link below) I say that because good management has no drama and no chaos. It’s pretty simple communication about expectations and follow-through. Unfortunately, those managers don’t get highlighted in magazine features because they aren’t interesting. But that’s the point. Good management isn’t there to be entertaining in a reality-TV kind of way; it is there so that the team can get the job done.