Look, I like LinkedIn. I must be on it an hour a day – during any given day. I enjoy the business and inspirational messaging that takes up most of the posts. So what does LinkedIn have to do with “Death of Excellence? Let’s Not Allow This To Happen?”
There are flowing posts in everyone’s feed on “leadership,” “how to choose your boss,” “achieving a great work environment” through “how to attract the best talent” suggesting beer afternoons, meditation rooms, music throughout the day and the like. Statements range from endorsing open workspaces to providing statistics that it actually inhibits productivity.
The instruction leaves out choosing a boss, and an employer, based on personal growth. Being challenged. Becoming excellent. Celebrating the growth an individual gains as a result of a failure or two, owning the miss, and becoming stronger because of it. Becoming excellent is not the easy path. Where are these posts?
I only believe in recognizing the uniqueness of individuals, being kind, never asking them to do anything I wouldn’t or didn’t do, and supporting them in their lives. I also subscribe to the theory, your team must operate at the highest levels, or the top performers will feel taken advantage of, and the team will not be able to realize their potential. A great team and I have been fortunate to have been a member of many, each committed to being excellent.
“A high performer blames themself, a low performer blames everyone else.” The objective is to have a team that believes so genuinely in each other; there isn’t any reason for blame — only keeping an eye on the prize.
There are posts on “great bosses” and “bad bosses,” that explain how you should only work for someone who gives you flexibility, encouragement and has an eye on your next several promotions. I have worked for an assortment of bosses that have been tough on me, encouraged me, laughed with me, provided a fantastic education, and even a couple that undermined me (they know who they are). Every one of them has impacted my view of work and how can be done well.
One day I shared with my father-in-law how I loved working for a particular boss. How we had fun together and were building a lifelong friendship. He paused, considered his experiences in leading sales teams and creating winning offices for a major insurance company, and then expressed his aggravation for what I just told him. “Aggravation” actually minimalizes the tenor of his response.
“Do you like your boss, I mean REALLY LIKE your boss? Then it is time to move on. You are not growing and somehow forgot why you are employed in the first place. Don’t like your boss, RESPECT them for how hard they push you to be better.” He was literally disgusted by the thought of working for anyone that didn’t make you better.
The fundamental desire to be great for him didn’t end with high grades in school, landing a good job, a raise or a solid work review. It was only the start. He believed a boss’ role is to provide you with a personalized path to being excellent and holding no one below that measurement. To doing your greatest work, and then blowing it away with the next assignment. That a boss’ role is to pull together a workplace that enables every member of the team the ability to state “I work with the best, and have achieved my best.”
So as we read and discuss the ideas and approaches in our LinkedIn content stream on how to create a desirable workplace, let’s not leave out personal and team growth as it results from a shared desire to achieve more whether it be higher quality, better solutions, more elegant code, profitable revenue growth, whatever is the measurement. Let’s not allow this time in history be the death of excellence and the era of settling.