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How’d They Get That Job???

“The reason she got the job is because she can’t do the job.  The leader (term used loosely) doesn’t like people working for them that will push back, question, or “rock the boat”.  She got the job because she’s a safe hire and will do whatever the leader wants. Everyone knows this.  The leaders entire team is composed of people that will follow orders, not question the status quo, and just fall in line.”

How would you like to be the “she” in that conversation?  By the way, it could just as easily be “he.”

How would you like to be the leader in that conversation?  Not exactly a shining portrayal of leadership greatness.

IF and it’s a big IF – If this is true, there are several issues any leader with integrity would have with this scenario.   I’m not going to discuss those issues – I’m choosing to treat this like a case study and go a different direction.  By the way, like all case studies we explore, the names have been changed to protect the innocent – so stop trying to guess who I’m talking about.

Now,  I want to ask some questions to spur all of us to engage in some Courageous Conversations to examine ourselves.  Why? Because the fact of the matter is any of us could be either of them, depending upon who you ask.

  1. If a leader of a major organization (large nonprofit, educational institution, city government) purposefully hires people that “can’t do the job” or “ who just fall in line”, how can they do that and not be held accountable? Whose job is it to hold them accountable?
  2. If this does happen, and the leader isn’t held accountable, what does that say about our expectations of our leaders?
  3. Where’s the line between proper authority and dictatorial or passive-aggressive control?
  4. Is there ever a time when it’s appropriate to hire and surround yourself with “yes men and women”?  If so, when?
  5. How long will you stay on a job, that doesn’t let you do your job?
  6. Why and when can people “thinking” be a threat to leadership?

So, what are you ABLE to do?  Spend some time answering these questions.  Better yet, if you’re a leader, use these questions during an open group dialogue with your team.  It’s one way to find out if you’re one of the two people mentioned in the conversation above.

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