Should I Stay or Should I Go? What do you do when you disagree with management?

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.

Pre-order my new book All in the Same Boat: Lead Your Organization Like a Nuclear Submariner.

Bosses Who Need the Most Help

I’m going to guess you’re a good boss.

How do I know this?

You’re reading this post.

And, more than likely, you’ve read my book, you follow my blog, and you listen to my podcast.

Like me, you probably regularly consume a steady diet of podcasts, audiobooks, and traditional books on business and leadership.

You’re a good leader because you’re humble and hungry.

You know you can always get better. There is always something new to learn.

You use that mindset with employees as well. You are humble when you are around them and you listen with the intent to learn – both how to be a better leader and to have a more successful organization.

Good leaders stay humble and hungry. They are always learning.

Good leaders stay humble and hungry. They are always learning. Click To Tweet

Bad bosses, on the other hand, think they know everything already. And they lack the humility and self-awareness to realize how bad they are as a leader.

The problem is – how do we reach these bosses when they are less likely to seek out new information?

Bad bosses lack the humility and self-awareness to realize how bad they are. They are less likely to seek out new information. Click To Tweet

It makes me think of the bible verse Luke 5:31 that says, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.”

So, how do we reach those bosses who need a “doctor?”

Let me suggest four ways:

Share leadership articles. If you see a good leadership article or blog post, send it to those that need to hear the message. Add a simple note like, “I thought this was interesting.” That’s all you really need to say. Let the reader figure it out on their own.

Share podcast episodes. If you hear an episode that really resonates with you and you think it would help another boss, send it their way. It’s easy to text an episode to someone that needs to hear it.

Share the books you are reading. After you finish a good book, lend it out to those that need to read it or send them a link to an audiobook you liked.

Follow up regularly. Find out what they thought about the information you shared. Check-in with them. Did they read it? What did they think? Let them know what you thought of it.

I want to see a world with better bosses and the only way we can do that is for good leaders to help all other bosses get better. We owe it to 70% of corporate employees who are currently working for a bad boss.

Another simple idea is to buy multiple copies of a good leadership book and give them away to those that need it. Many authors offer a bulk discount.

I have the watch book

Did you know you I offer a bulk discount on I Have the Watch? Enter the discount code BULK25 at checkout to get 25% off 5 or more books on my website.

I’m happy if you share my bookarticles, and podcast with those that need it but I’m also happy if you just share any good leadership content.

Reach out to me on Twitter and let me know some other ways we can help build a world with better bosses.

The Most Important Thing to do as a New Leader

The lady in seat 2B had my attention.

I was flying home from Minnesota on a business trip when she struck up a conversation immediately after boarding.

And since she was talking about her boss, I perked up.

I love stories about bad bosses because I’m always amazed at what some people think is acceptable leadership behavior.

My seat-mate was heading out on a vacation to get away from her boss. She needed time to consider whether she was going to quit or not. The story she told me was unbelievable – a new manager who destroyed an organization in just one week.

She worked for a non-profit organization and they had just hired a new director. The director was a seasoned executive who had run several non-profits before and everyone was excited to have her on board.

But the excitement ended after a few days.

Before even meeting with and talking to employees, she began telling everyone how things were going to be done under her watch. She began cleaning out offices and throwing away files. She deleted documents on the server and discarded financial and operation reports.

When questioned, she told the employees, “I know what I’m doing.”

When my seat-mate suggested they sit down and review how payroll was processed, her new boss said, “I don’t need you to show me anything. I know how to do payroll.” My travel companion said, “She treated me like a child.”

Then, there was this red flag, my seat-mate said, “I don’t trust her.”

From what I can tell, this new director violated three cardinal rules of leadership in the first week:

1.    She never asked for any advice from her senior employees
2.    She broke the trust of her people
3.    She frustrated good employees to the point where they wanted to quit

Three strikes in one week? That’s like a world record.

The truth is, this boss failed to properly lead in the first 100 days.

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a new leader, every time you take on a new leadership role, everyone will be watching you. The first 100 days are critically important. This is when the new leader sets the tone. There is a small window of time when you have the full attention of the workforce so your actions need to be carefully considered.

Yes, it’s important to have a meeting with all team members to fully introduce yourself but you need to do so much more. On the latest episode of the Deep Leadership podcast, I explain the ten things you should do in the first 100 days.

But, spoiler alert, this one activity is the most important!

Have one-on-one meetings with all employees. 

Don’t assume you understand the problems and challenges facing your team. Have one-on-one meetings and ask the following three questions:

1. What’s going right?
2. What going wrong?
3. If you were in my shoes, what would you do first?

You will be surprised at how similar the responses are to these three questions. At the end of this process, you have a deeper understanding of the people and conditions in the organization.

And if you really want to be a leader worth following, take immediate action on one of the issues you learn from these interviews.

Don’t be like the bad boss in this story. Get to know your team and issues facing the business before you dive into fixing them. You will gain instant credibility and the feedback you receive will help you to make better-informed decisions.

If you like this idea and want more, get a copy of my latest book – I Have the Watch: Becoming a Leader Worth Following. It’s filled with 23 practical ideas like this on how you can become a more effective leader.