Imagine walking into the grocery market after work today. You are inundated with options, ideas, thoughts, and oh your hungry too. The kids and your spouse are texting you their wish list as you weave through the aisles. You have a choice to make. Buy up the whole store, and I mean everything, leave nothing behind, one of everything. Use your belt or a tie to string the carts together and empty your bank account, call a taxi to take your groceries and go home. Or choose your path, pick wisely, manage your budget and do what is best for you.
I am going to wager a guess and say that not even the rich and famous with extended spending budgets have bought out a grocery store, one of everything. So why would you even consider a thing like that. If you are working in the oil industry you probably haven’t had a raise in a while. If you are working for one of the many retailers closing their doors your penny’s are being pinched, tight.
I wanted to use this imagery to show you what happens every time you log in to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or any of the many social platforms we use today to connect with people. We are inundated with options, choices, ideas, thoughts, pictures, and quips. This assault causes us to feel beat up inside.
Harvard Business Review did a very thorough study of us humans and found that “consistently that both liking others’ content and clicking links significantly predicted a subsequent reduction in self-reported physical health, mental health, and life satisfaction.” Now this had to do with Facebook specifically, I don’t want to mislead you. I do want you to think though about what is really happening to your mind when you are on professional sites.
Almost all of us are looking up a rung or two on the ladder. We are really hoping to be noticed, to be heard, to excel in our profession. I have had the experience of being on unemployment in this age of online applications and social networking and it is an actual real life jungle out there. All the well-meaning quips and pictures of leadership excellence can make you feel like a leadership loser.
Pictures of laptops and perfectly quaffed managers with thousand dollar suits smile back at you. Deep down inside you may feel like they are looking down on you not parallel from your screen. You don’t have a thousand dollar suit, your 401K may not even have a thousand dollars a year! This hurts you like little pins in a balloon, slowly going in and not quite popping it but damaging it, slowly your air releases over time. Then those suits are just laughing at you. You are trying to do anything you can to put a smile on your boss’ face, food on the table, and walk the dog.
Of all, the most cliché terms in consulting or LinkedIn or strategizing or pretty much anything about business is leadership. Leadership this and be a better that and everyone is just pushing you in every direction to be better. Better though, at what? There are a million billion types of people and a million billion ways to lead. Are you really a bad leader? Probably not. However, I encourage you to find out.
I worked for a company that did anonymous surveys of managers, working conditions, and career advancement opportunities. This is an amazing idea. Everyone feels safe and empowered, poor managers can be mentored and helped, people desiring advancement can be heard, everyone has a say. Think about this as an option, but another option is: make a change. Pick ONE of the options, and grow from there. What do you need help in?
My concern is that you never hear from you anymore (well you see their dinner, and amazing vacations, but no real constructive criticism). What about what YOU need for YOUR career? Do you need development in an area that you are lacking in? Are you strong minded enough to admit you need help or advancement? Would your boss smile knowing you took the time to advance your career, your aptitude, your over-all ability to succeed for the company? Well if I was your boss, I would smile at you!
If your employees were given choices to take a course on leadership, or managing, or deepen their corporate financial understanding, would YOU smile? Well why don’t you give them that power? Are you really so busy with work that you can’t find the time to better yourself or your team? I say no. I bet you find time to click and like and read and fly past 40 clips on leadership every day in your social network.
If you really get down to it, spend seriously, less than five minutes…think about what your career might do next or what you could do with your team, your department, your company if you chose to learn. I am not talking about weeks and months and years of formal education half of which you won’t be able to use. I am talking about practical, real world, useful educational experiences.
Next time you see a leadership quote or hear some canned thousand-dollar suit tell you some sound bite about being a better you, take the plunge. Pick a path. Move UP the ladder. You know what your weaknesses are. You know where you would like to excel. You know what the next step in your career needs.
Don’t buy one of everything, pick your path, be a better leader. Be efficient, be in charge of your destiny. Spend the time to weed through the online assault of being better, just do what you need to do to actually achieve greatness in your life. Be the suit. Make the choice, make the change.
This blog written and managed for BMIGC/TalentReality101.com by DirectEffective.com Daynah Head.