“When a good person meets a bad system, the system always wins.” – Frank Voehl”
In light of our current political or corporate climate we may believe this quote on a bad day. I remember hearing over and over early on in my career that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
I would see this all the time when somebody was a nice person, a good friend, or a mentor and they would seem to change overnight. We, the front line folks, thought the administration, the top brass in the ivory towers, finally heard us and gave us a good supervisor. This supervisor understood us, our day-to-day business duties, and could give us the information we desired. They could stand up to the bad system!
Instead, we the common folk would watch in horror, as our favorite soon became our unfavorite. We suddenly see our sense of value at work just deteriorate and the same problems happen over and over again.
We would complain to a mentor and ask how to deal with them and ourselves? Shock, disbelief, anger, and sadness are all forms of a grieving cycle. Frankly, it sucks to grieve at work.
I remember more than once working with “good” colleagues that seemed to know how to stay above the fray at work, had excellent working reputations, and were effective communicators. What some of us didn’t foresee, that these newly minted leaders became gruff, stopped listening, and would just “deliver” new policies and procedures without direction or consideration. Sounds familiar?
What I witnessed was a transformation of good colleagues that really weren’t good. In order, to be good one cannot just “act like it.” The new were self-serving and dubious.
This (long plunge into a pit of despair of ruined expectations) happens daily at work for so many employees and colleagues. So why do we fall pray to believe that perhaps one person can change the system, when most just fail and act more like the system?
When I hear from my clients, my peers, my community, and my family whom do they admire a person who change the system or person who can play the system well? The answer is the one good person CAN change any system. Why else have hope?
So how does a good person communicate change in a bad system?
When change is about to happen in an organization here are few things to think about, does the following occur from leadership?
1. Describe what is going to happen.
2. Explain why the change is necessary.
3. Ask for reactions; listen to comments and feelings.
4. Acknowledge comments or objections and check for misunderstandings.
5. Ask for suggestions.
6. Follow through.
This seems simple enough because even mediocre leaders will do this.
I want to give you a secret I learned about good vs. bad leaders, colleagues, and supervisors.
There really is no such thing as good vs. bad. There is likable vs. unlikable and there is effective vs. ineffective. I discovered that good labels created such high and unachievable standards of greatness that invariably I and everyone else I met would eventually feel “crestfallen” with their choices. A professional bad label also created such a negative stereotype that no matter what this person did it wasn’t good enough.
However, when I realized I liked and didn’t like some folks that was my choice. I have professional values and so does everyone else. I also accepted the fact that some professionals only consider themselves at work- because that’s all they can control. I also learned effective vs. ineffective qualities are quantifiable. This meant that if the new leader wasn’t up to snuff that wasn’t my issue only a reflection of the current leadership abilities and choices.
The bottom line is that I never have to hand my power over to a “bad system.” When I all I need to do is look at my professional values. I could also choose to be an effective employee, colleague, or supervisor to the best of my ability. It may not be my choice if other professionals like me but I could certainly do my best to try.
The next time you are told there is a bad system out there and it’s a fixed game, notice how quickly everyone else hands over his or her power. That is the first sign of an ineffective, unlikable, and powerless person.
I coach women daily on how to cultivate their enthusiasm and desire so they can find their strengths, use their talents and gifts at work and in life.
If you would like a free 30-minute consultation please feel free to connect with me at http://jeanniedougherty.com/contact/.