Monday, August 3, 2015

I cannot stay in this job because...


There are reasons that people leave jobs. It is often not for higher pay but for a better supervisor or organizational culture that is getting in the way of their current role. Often, when leaving a dysfunctional work environment it is not apparent until we have been out a while that we realize how bad it was. And how glad we are gone.

Here are some of the reasons that people cannot stay in their job.

One: There is no clarity as to what we are about, what we are going after and how we are going to get there. For those who want to invest their lives, this is a huge problem - and should be. Without clarity we all work in our own silos and none of us know how to best contribute to the whole. We don't know if we are going somewhere or nowhere. It is deeply frustrating and when one asks, there seem to be no answers.

Two: I have skills, gifting and training but I am micromanaged and cannot use any of my own creativity. What I feel inside is that my boss does not trust me enough to leave me alone. What I want is the big picture and then I will make things happen in my arena. However, with micromanagement and control I feel like a servant rather than a colleague. I really think I am better than that. 

Three: My opinion does not count. In fact, I am not even asked for my candid assessment of decisions or direction. When I try to give it I am rebuffed and if I disagree I am called disloyal when all I really want is the very best for the organization. I don't know who my leader talks to but it is not me and there is no venue for candid discussion.

Four: My leader has really bad EQ and it spills over on his staff - including me. He is defensive, insecure, needs to have his own way, does not like feedback unless it agrees with him, is manipulative, can be dismissive of others, does not resolve conflict and frankly lives in his/her own fantasy world that all is well. What is true is that the emperor has no clothes on this one and everyone around them knows that to be true except them. His problematic behaviors demean and diminish others and it is highly unpleasant. People on the outside do not see what we see but we see it all the time.

Five: I want a healthy leader and a healthy organizational culture. This does not cut it. I love the ministry and its people but to work here has become a non-starter. I am looking but I cannot tell my boss because he/she will become threatened and will probably undermine my efforts. To leave is to be disloyal.

There does come a tipping point when the leader and culture is unhealthy and when it does, people bail. Years ago I heard of a consultant to told the CEO of a Christian ministry all of us would recognize that his senior people were on the bubble for the kinds of reasons I have shared. He got angry and said "No one ever leaves this ministry." Over the next five years almost all of his senior leaders left. All it took was the first to go for others to realize that there was life beyond their organization.

We either lead well and create a healthy culture or we will have staff saying, "I cannot stay in this job because..."

TJ Addington of Addington Consulting has a passion to help individuals and organizations maximize their impact and go to the next level of effectiveness. He can be reached at tjaddington@gmail.com.

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