The Clueless Leader

Isn’t the most demotivating feeling in the world when your leader has no idea what you are doing, how you are doing it, why you are doing it and as a result why it’s taking longer than expected.

After all, aren’t they the ones that identified the work to be done and triaged it to you?

Aren’t they the ones responsible for the end deliverable?

Shouldn’t they have a little more knowledge in what they are responsible for so they can talk about it with confidence and passion to others and understand how and why you might be taking longer than expected?

Yes, Yes and Yes.

But not everyone sees it that way, not everyone “loves” what you are doing, not everyone feels the urge to learn everything and anything about the project they are not responsible for delivering.

Some leaders simply want the project to be done, off their plate and out the door.

It’s become too hard, too complicated, difficult and complex.

Translation – It’s not easy, it’s not a quick win.

It’s an effort and a commitment that requires more then they are willing to give.

So what do you do?

You finish the project and move on, not to another project but another leader, someone who cares about what you do, why you are doing it and where you are struggling.

To stay is to invite the same circle of despair and cluelessness which is already driving you to the edge.

Now is the time to make the change.

Knowing When to Quit

I was listening to an interesting episode of Tim Ferris podcast on knowing when to quit. As also interviewed on the show, my personal favorite is Seth Godin’s “The Dip” as it connected with me right off the bat and I’ve re-read it again a number of times whenever I feel conflicted on where to go or what to do next.

For me, decision time on when to stay and go comes at your lowest moment of craptivity, when you are stuck at that low point between doing something decent (not great) BUT knowing what great is and desperately wanting to get there. You’ve had some big wins that spurned you into continuing on but the shine is starting to fade.

Many people equate this to the feeling of – “I don’t really like my current job, but today was amazing, so everything is changing and I’ll keep going because it is going to work out now” – and maybe it will, which is fantastic. The corner has been turned and everyone is moving forward in unison.

And then a bad day comes, kicking you off your perch and all those emotions of staying or going comes back – “I’M OUTTA HERE”.

I don’t know or can’t say which is right. I can say that when you start to feel that nagging voice in the back of your head suggesting it’s time to give up, you write it down – notepad, moleskinned notebook, napkin – whatever and you focus what you write down on three things.

  • What’s the Date?
  • What are you feeling?
  • What do you want to do?

Next time you feel great or have the same feelings, write them down again. Keep doing it for a month, then look back at the data – do the goods outweigh the bad? Is how you are feeling really beneficial to your growth?

If not, time to go, if so, time to stay.

Take the emotion out of it and look at the data.

Don’t Take the Job that Holds You Back

When you are a contractor, freelancer or consultant – there is always an enticement to take the job that will pay well but stifle any form of creativity, learning and accomplishment that you can bring to the project.

If you need a paycheck, take it.

But don’t take it forever, don’t be the one to hold yourself back.

Remember that you got into this so you could learn more, develop more and grow to be the best version of yourself.

So if you need to take the job that is going to stunt your growth, take it for a short period of time so the effects aren’t permanent.

Better yet, avoid it altogether.

The Back To School Reset

As the commercial says, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

As our children grow older and more is expected of them in school, that last night of freedom before the year begins is spent thinking about what the year will bring.

What will they aim to achieve?

What teams do they want to try out for?

How much effort are they willing to put in?

Of course mixed in with other questions as well…

What will I wear?

Who will I sit next to on the bus?

But those first 3 questions, those are the questions and answers that will chart the course for the year.

As adults, we work all year long (with the exception of vacations where we might consider those questions a little more). ¬†We don’t get the benefit of that long break to re-evaluate where and what we want to achieve.

But perhaps we should force ourselves to have one and lay the course.

The Break-Out Strategy

You’ll hear this from coaches a lot.

“What’s our break-out?”

“How do we get the – (whatever sport it is we’re playing) – out of our zone and into theirs?”

The same goes for your career.

Do you have a break-out strategy for taking that next step in your career?

Do you know where you want to go next?

Do you know who you need help from?

Do you know what you need to get there?

It’s not complicated, draw a box on a piece of paper, make 4 squares within it and map it out.

From there draw arrows between the boxes.

Now you have a break-out strategy.