Sometimes our boss asks us to do something that doesn’t feel right. I don’t mean unethical, I mean maybe you think the person being counseled has potential and your boss thinks he should be fired. Or maybe you feel strongly that the added projects require
added staff and your boss thinks you can just carry the additional workload. Or maybe you believe your direct report should be promoted and your boss told you that wasn’t in the budget.
The list of scenarios is endless and I’m guessing you’re adding a few as you read this. The challenge for most of the people is how to handle this situation.
It comes down to Mindset.
There are two people we need to please at work:
Did you consider your Self as someone to please at work? In fact, you are the most important person to please, over and above your boss. If you don’t feel good about how you handle something, that feeling of disappointment in your self affects everything around you. You know, that sad sack in accounting, the curmudgeon in procurement, and the nasty pants in product development. They’re miserable because they feel powerless. They embody the victim-who-has-no-control-over-his-success-at-work.
If we give in without trying, then we change how we feel about ourselves. And losing our sense of self-respect is a quick path towards major unhappiness. Lack of self-respect trickles out in a slimy, stinky ooze of self-disgust that clings to our every pore. Lack of self-respect leads directly to Fear Based Management; the art of pooping on everyone around you as a distraction from your own lack of integrity.
The truth is, these folks have tons of power they’re not using. By claiming ownership of How you handle a situation, regardless of the outcome, you are Owning Your Power.
What this means is that you may have to fire that person to keep your job, but how you go about it is what matters most in terms of self-respect. Did you diplomatically try your best to persuade your boss that there was potential? Did you document the ways in which the employee has made an effort? Did you partner with HR to make sure you weren’t biased? Did you fire him with compassion?
Sometimes the best you can do doesn’t change the outcome. That’s a hard reality that can be balanced by the fact that you did your very best to change it. Chances are the action you took to change it, regardless of the outcome, will result in respect from colleagues of all levels, probably even your boss.
But that’s not why you did it. You did it for You. Nicely done.