By Barry Maher
“What I hate most about my job,” a middle manager once confided, “is who it forces me to become and how it makes me act.”
“So,” I asked, “what would happen if you became who you’d like to be, and acted how you’d like to act?”
“Well . . . well, actually, I’m not sure.”
“Would they fire you?”
“No, they wouldn’t do that.”
“Could you still do your job?” I asked.
“Actually, I could probably do it a lot better. But I’d be bucking the culture of the whole corporation.”
“So the question is: Do you think that corporate culture needs bucking? And do you feel strongly enough about it to do it.”
Who you are is your decision not the company’s. If you have a problem with the standards or the values or the ethics of the company you’re in, you don’t have to accept them. You don’t have to make a show of opposition; you can simply remember who you are and perform accordingly. That’s called integrity. It’s also called leadership. Even if nobody is following. You may catch some flack, you may even be vilified. But often you’ll find that ultimately you will be respected.
How much respect are you ever likely to get for turning yourself into somebody you’re not?
And if you’re successful your values may spread. You may even be promoted.
Sometimes you can simply be the change you want to see. Gandhi said that. Nobody’s done a “Gandhi on business” book—The Mahatma Marketplace?—at least not yet. But to me, this is a first-rate piece of business advice. Sometimes you can fill the glass just by doing your best to be the person you want to be within your job.
© Copyright 2013, Barry Maher, Barry Maher & Associates, Las Vegas, Nevada