As a leadership speaker and author, I get this type of question a lot.
I work in a company with poor management. Employees are frustrated and apathy is widespread. Should I confront management about this or just look for another job?
The real question is: When do I know if I should stay at my current job or look for a new one?
I began to think about this after someone else recently contacted me for advice. He works for a local government department and has had a long, successful career. Lately though, he has been frustrated the top-down approach of everyone in management.
His question was simple; do I question leadership or do I just stay quiet?
The problem with questioning authority is obvious. You might get cross-threaded with management which could lead to termination or getting passed over for future promotions. Staying silent, however, can lead to frustration, dissatisfaction, disillusionment, and disengagement. This, of course, can also lead to termination or getting passed over for promotions.
I imagine a lot of people find themselves in this situation. If I look back on my career, I can recall times when I strongly disagreed with a management decision but kept my mouth shut to preserve my job and my advancement prospects. It was very frustrating and my ability to lead others suffered because of it.
“Next generation leaders are those who would rather challenge what needs to change and pay the price than remain silent and die on the inside.” ~Andy Stanley
Andy Stanley’s quote from his book, Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future, was the basis of my advice for my friend. Remaining silent and dying on the inside is no way to live your life. It’s probably time for him to talk to his boss and voice his concerns but it needs to be done in a respectful manner.
“Question authority; but, raise your hand first.” ~ Alan M. Dershowitz
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s fair to question leadership, but do it in a way that is private, respectful, and considerate. You may find their explanations make sense or they decide to make changes based on your feedback. In this case, you have resolved the conflict in a respectful manner and can go back to enjoying your job.
If, however, you find they don’t appreciate being questioned or their answers don’t make sense, it may be time to start looking for another job. And that’s OK too. It’s better to fully understand your situation and know it’s time to go than stay at a job where you will be unhappy and dissatisfied. Plus, it’s always easier to find a job while you still have one.
Consider the words of Andy Stanley and don’t remain silent. It’s acceptable to question leadership, but do it in a way that is private, respectful, and considerate. Their answers will make it very clear what you should do next.
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