So you want your bosses’ job, can you get what you want?

photoYou can’t always get what you want? Why the *%$# not? Say it isn’t so!
The amazing Rolling Stones finished with:
“You can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.”
And while that is certainly true, I think we can do better, don’t you? Read on…..
I’ve also attached the live video for a rock break in your busy decompress:-) !

The main questions here are:
1.Do you know what you want?
2.Is it possible?
3.Do you know how to ask for it?

There are many scenarios where employees don’t know what they want? Or their superiors don’t know how to motivate, inspire, or empower them. Or both can’t find a common ground to even begin the discussion. In some cases, stories and animosities have been developed.

The key is for both, employer and employee, to be authentic and honest about what they want and find a way to make it fit the needs of the organization as well as the individual.

One example: I was working with a corporate IT team during a particularly intense software development & conversion project. I coached the team as a whole, and each individual member to maintain positive energy and find ways to optimize current and future processes within the department.

All but one member of the 12-person team were happy, engaged, empowered team members. Well above the stats from the Carnegie study that found 70% of employees in America are disengaged. Perhaps a testament to the CIO choosing his team with intention. But some of his team were there before he arrived.

Michael Jackson was right, “One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch baby”

The one unhappy employee frequently complained about every difficult aspect of the project and rarely saw her part in any of the delays or setbacks that can organically occur in a long-term software implementation. In team meetings, she brought her negative energy full force. It did not add value to the project even though she was a smart, capable technology professional. What was her problem?

She thought she was the better candidate for her bosses’ job!

Meeting with her individually, she shared that she didn’t feel the CIO had the project under control. She was not happy working on that team, feeling that the tasks she was asked to perform were below her expertise. As time went by it became clear that she wanted and believed she was a better choice for the CIO position.

She needed to answer the 3 questions above:
1.Do you know what you want? Yes, she wanted her bosses’ job.

2.Is it possible? Not in the foreseeable future, her boss was doing a great job, well liked and respected, with no immediate plans to move up or on.

3.Do you know how to ask for it? Asking to have the CIO fired and replaced by her was not an option. Clearly she could go to the CEO and make her case but she had no facts to substantiate her claims other than how she felt.

We have all seen this happen in organizations, she felt passed over. But perhaps her technical skills were strong but her management/people skills may have needed some improvement for her to be considered for the CIO position. She had interviewed for the job and was not chosen.

Going backward was not an option; marching forward is our only option. So at that moment, it was up to her to decide on her next move.

After several individual coaching sessions, she began to realize what she truly wanted. She discovered that her choices were:

  1. Change her attitude and get engaged in her current position or
  2. Develop a career plan and begin seeking new opportunities.

Fortunately for the members of the team and the CIO, she chose the latter. Given all the negative energy that she had spread, it was likely best for her to make a new start. And she didn’t seem to be able to let go of the resentment she felt being passed over. While the CIO and other team members liked her as an individual, they also recognized that a change might be best for her. So she moved on, change is inevitable and a constant so not a bad thing.

So I agree with first part of the Stones lyric but I would change the ending:

“ You can’t always get what you want,
         but if you know what you want, you can ask for it. “  ~Brenda March                                                                 from The Self-Esteem Guide for Women: How to Build Confidence,                                                                                         to be released August 2015.

And this works two ways both as an individual employee and as an employer.

I give this CIO much credit for recognizing that his team would benefit from bringing in an independent, objective 3rd party to work with his team.

As employers we need to develop active listening skills and look for clues to keep our employees engaged. As employees we need to be open and honest about our needs and keep the lines of communication open as much as possible.

There are so many helping professionals out there:
Professional business coaches
Career coaches and counselors
Employee engagement consultants
Professional life coaches
The list is endless.

So when you aren’t sure where to turn next, as the Stones said, “if you try sometimes, you get what you need”.

I equate asking for help, as trying & I do believe if you try sometimes you do get what you need.      

But even better if you know what you want, you can ask for it &   

                                                    you just might get what you want too!


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