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.

The Problem with Career Complacency

In the past three weeks, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend.

I have been contacted by a number of people who have been let go by their companies.

Sadly, the global pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the economy and the job market.

But, it’s even worse than that.

The scary part is that the people who were let go are the best of the best. They are veterans, they have degrees from top universities, and they have decades of leadership experience. They are the last people I would expect to be looking for work right now.

It is a powerful reminder that none of our jobs are safe.

Unfortunately, I understand this situation all too well.

In 2014, I found myself out of a job through no fault of my own. I was the vice president of a major corporation and had more than 15 years of dedicated service. One morning, I came into work like every other day and by that afternoon, I was out of work.

No warning. No heads up. Nothing.

I was left shocked and confused. I couldn’t understand how a company I had worked so hard for could just toss me aside like that. Especially, with all my knowledge, education, experience, and a history of getting things done.

But that’s the thing I learned. None of us are safe!

That experience taught me some powerful lessons.

And, if you’re lucky enough to still be employed during this crisis, you need to pay attention. You need to understand that your company doesn’t care about you or your career.

Your company doesn’t care about you or your career. Click To Tweet

I’m sorry if this is a shock to you but you alone are responsible for managing your career.

So, here are four simple rules to manage your career in this crisis:

The first rule is this – don’t be complacent.

Don’t assume that your years of hard work and dedication will mean anything when they start making a spreadsheet of “heads” to be eliminated. You are not that special to them. You are a number on a spreadsheet.

The second rule is – don’t let your connections go stale.

Don’t be that person who only calls people when they need something. Stay in regular communication with your network. And, if you have a small network, you need to grow it…starting today.

Understand this – your next job will come from someone you know or someone who they know. You’re not getting a job by posting a resume on a job board.

Your next job will come from someone you know or someone who they know. Click To Tweet

The third rule is – build your personal brand.

When I was let go, I was a nobody outside my company. No one knew who I was or what I stood for.  Don’t be like I was. You should have a personal website and you should be writing regularly about what you know and showcasing your skills. Just keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date isn’t good enough anymore.

The fourth rule is – build multiple streams of income.

When I was let go, my salary was my only source of income. All my eggs were in that basket. Don’t do this. Use side hustles to develop other sources of income that you can turn to if things go belly up.

Who knows? One of your side hustles may be your next career.

One of the people who helped me through my career transition was John O’Connor.

He helped me step up my game in terms of networking and personal branding. I recently had him on my podcast and we talked about how to manage your career during a crisis.

Everyone needs to listen to this episode.

This global pandemic should be a wakeup call for you and your career. Don’t wait until you are out of work before you take action.

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P.S. I’m asked all the time if I provide signed copies of my book? The answer is yes. Click here and press the large orange button for signed copies.

Using Failure to Fuel Sucess

You’ve probably noticed the same thing as me.

There is success all around us and, as a society, we love to celebrate success. Think about social media. It’s really just a collection of everyone’s highlight reel sent out into cyberspace hoping to get a little positive affirmation.

We also love a good rags-to-riches success story.

Like J. K. Rowling for example.

She went from living on welfare to becoming the world’s first billionaire author.

We love stories like this because it helps us imagine that one day, if we get lucky, maybe we might become the next rags-to-riches story.

But, what about failure?

We don’t like to think or talk about our failures.

We purposely hide our outtakes and our blooper reel from the world.

We purposely hide our outtakes and our blooper reel from the world. Click To Tweet

We fear failure. It’s embarrassing and discouraging when we fail. We feel like a loser in a world where everyone else is winning.

The problem is that failure gets a bad rap. It’s actually more important than success.

Let me explain.

Consider this. Between 2004 and 2006, at the height of auto-maker Toyota’s success, it recalled more vehicles than ever before. They learned the hard way that success leads to complacency.

We need failure.

We need it to learn, grow, and to provide the fuel to propel us towards our goals.

We need failure to learn, grow, and to provide the fuel to propel us towards our goals. Click To Tweet

Even the great J. K. Rowling was rejected by 12 different publishing houses before Bloomsbury finally accepted her stories.

Think of this quote that is often attributed to Winston Churchill (although he never actually said it):

“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” 

Failure is not the problem.

Our response to failure is. It’s the courage to continue that counts.

I recently had Colonel George Milton on my podcast and we spoke specifically about failure. He took a life of failure and built an amazing career in leadership.

He is a highly decorated combat Army veteran who barely graduated from high school. The story of his early struggles and how it provided fuel for his success is powerful.

He never let failure stop him and he was eventually inducted into the United States Army Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.

Listen in to this episode and learn how to harness the power of failure.

P.S. If you haven’t followed me on Instagram yet, you should. You’ll get a little more “behind the scenes” view of what it’s like to lead a manufacturing business.