When to Surrender and Take One for the Team
Groupthink for Employees / July 26, 2021

When to Surrender and Take One for the Team As in life, people who never compromise, volunteer, or surrender their own wishes and needs to those of others—well, they might be successful but they surely aren’t popular. And frankly, I doubt they are all that successful either. Purely pragmatically, it is in your best interest to be seen as someone who will take one for the team. Your colleagues like you more and are more likely to help out when you need it. A team willing to give and take is a good place to work, as well as (usually) more effective. We all want to have a job where we love to get into work—being a good team member can contribute to that environment. So when is the right time to surrender and take one for the team? There can be any number of right times, but here are some you might want to consider if we are talking about the previous situation where someone can’t go to a high-value conference. Others have not had the opportunity. You’ve already attended twice. Is there another team member who has attended only once or not at all? Fairness might suggest that…

Are You the Fall Guy for Your Team?
Groupthink for Employees / July 19, 2021

Are You the Fall Guy for Your Team? Being the fall guy has a negative connotation. It can mean dupe but it can also mean taking on an unpalatable task to help your team. Let’s look at an example. You work in a large company with a history of developing its people, but upheavals in the industry have meant cutbacks of all kinds. You’ve been in your job for two years and, every year, the company allows your unit (three of you—YOU, Sacha, and Tim—and your manager—Gwen) to attend the conference in your field. You learn a lot each time and made useful contacts you’ve used in your work. Gwen calls a team meeting. Gwen: I’ve just had a management meeting. The budget is really tight. No lay-offs, at least for now, but they’re cutting back in other ways. You: Like what? Gwen: Well, for one thing, I only have money for three of us to attend the conference later this year. Sacha: One of us can’t go? Gwen: I’m afraid so. Tim: So who? Gwen: (not looking at anyone) Well, I was kind of hoping for a volunteer. Someone who would take one for the team. (Silence) So, should…

Are You Invisible in Your Job?

Are You Invisible in Your Job? In previous posts, you actually had it good when your boss valued you too much to let you go. You get the same outcome but none of the kudos if you’re invisible even if you do your job well. In previous posts, you actually had it good when your boss valued you too much to let you go. You get the same outcome but none of the kudos if you’re invisible even if you do your job well. Some jobs are mostly invisible to the rest of the company. Examples might be the organization of a big meeting or convention, production of a regular report, or delivery of a well-established program. Here, fighting fires is considered failure. Other jobs seem to consist largely of putting out fires. People in them are more likely to be hailed as company heroes but frankly, even a job like that can fall into this category if the incumbent tries hard enough. How do you know if you’re invisible? It’s mostly a feeling but here are some cues: A proposal impacts your area but nobody consults on whether it will cause you glitches. Your work problems are considered trivial…

Talking to Your Boss about Being Stalled in Your Job

Talking to Your Boss about Being Stalled in Your Job We’ve discussed when being too good at your job can impede your career. This can occur when your boss has a dog-in-the-manger view of good staff; he wants to keep them even if they don’t want to be kept. It can result in being stalled in your career. Whether to talk to your boss about feeling stalled It’s an option. With some real benefits. If he truly didn’t realize you were unhappy, you two could discuss a path which suits you both. However, and this is a big however, your boss may know what he’s doing and will respond defensively when it is raised. Look at your boss in other situations. When things go wrong, does he look for a scapegoat? In meetings, does he let others talk or lay down the law? Do you know to watch your ps and qs with him to avoid offending? Things like this should make you think twice. Let your gut be your guide. The conversation You’ve decided that, for all his bluster, your boss is a good enough guy you think he’ll listen. I’ll run through a possible conversation, with commentary on…

Avoiding the Dangers of Being Too Good at Your Job

Avoiding the Dangers of Being Too Good at Your Job You fear your boss is holding you back because you’re too good at your job. The answer is not, of course, to start being bad at it. That really is cutting your nose off to spite your face. And I am assuming you are keeping your eye on the job ads. While you are doing that, there are other options to try to avoid the dangers. Is talking to your boss one of the dangers? This is where the assessment of jerkiness comes in. If you can see that your boss is demanding but fair; doesn`t suffer fools gladly but gives praise when merited; yells in anger but also in excitement—this might be a boss you can talk to. However, if he is kind of mean-spirited or petty or if he is a follow-the-rules-no-matter-what type, you might not want to. It`s a judgment call. If you`re doubtful, I would tend not to. Because I want to cover the other two points, I will do a separate post on how to have the discussion with your boss on this if you think it might be productive. Train others You probably get…