Ask Abbie: Of morale and the missionPublished 11:02am Saturday, September 21, 2013
Question: My boss is a micro-manager. Every decision is second-guessed. Everything must go by her. It’s affecting morale. Now no one wants to try or suggest anything. We are unhappy in our jobs! What do you suggest?
Answer: As John and the team loaded the van, he grew more and more apprehensive about the day ahead. Despite meticulous planning and hard work he realized anything could happen. He closed the double doors and breathed a sigh of relief. All of the boxes fit! He jumped in the back seat and the van departed. So far, so good.
He and the other workers set forth to deliver warm boxes as free gifts into many cold hands. The first five deliveries were received with smiles of appreciation and gracious hearts. After all it would be the recipients’ first real meals in days. The next delivery John made, however, did not go so well. It was received with a sense of entitlement. The only words spoken by the recipient were “It’s about time. Chicken? I hate chicken. I’ll try to eat it, but next time I want steak.” Somewhat discouraged, John and the crew proceeded to the next stop. After several more similar experiences, John’s morale was affected. He became unhappy with his job.
In order to see your predicament and overall mission for what they are and not for what they seem to be, consider John. He thinks his problem is with ungrateful recipients when actually it is with letting difficult circumstances question the validity of, and possibly deter him from, his mission. John thinks his mission is to deliver meals when actually it is much larger. It is to fully utilize his potential so he can have the biggest positive impact on as many others as possible.
You think your problem is with your boss’s, assumed to be unwarranted, micro-managing practices when actually it is with letting difficult circumstances question the validity of, and possibly deter you from, your overall mission. You think your mission is to fulfill the requirements of your employer when actually it is much larger. It is to fully utilize your potential so you can have the biggest positive impact on as many others as possible. Using this frame of reference it is time to formulate a plan of attack. Take into account the following considerations.
Consideration 1: By remaining focused on your mission and being the best you can despite your circumstances, you will have the opportunity to develop many different skills which will prove beneficial to your career. You will learn how to work within difficult environments. Having felt and survived the morale-lowering effects of unwarranted micro-management you will be able to better guard yourself against utilizing the same on any employees you may have to manage in the future. In addition, having worked for a micro-manager you will know the warning signs to look for and the questions to ask of any potential future employer before you accept a job offer to report to him.
Consideration 2: By learning to adjust your attitude from one of defeat to one of victory, the health of your spirit will improve. You will gain the strength to more easily reject any and all of the enemy’s future attacks sent to discourage and distract you from your mission. Your senses will sharpen and allow you to enjoy more of life’s simple beauty, to experience more good than bad days, and to be more sensitive to the needs of others. In addition, it has been proven that attitudes are contagious. When yours is positive, the negativity of those around you will become infected, overpowered, and defeated.
Now that you have a proper perspective on where you are it is time to plan where you are going. This destination is to be determined by you and is a place where you and your mission can have the greatest impact. It must be where there are no limits put on your potential that cannot be broken and where there are no barriers put around your purpose that cannot be destroyed.
If you determine this location to be your current place of employment, stay and forge ahead with a new outlook and positive perspective. If not, you should pull out a map and start looking for a new route. For you this route will lead to a new job. Should John make the same determination his new route will be the next set of cold yet grateful hands.