You follow the leader, because you want to…
you follow a manager, because you have to.
This very simple truth that I’ve heard some time ago might fit to your professional career as perfect as it fits to mine. Some smart guy said to me a few days ago that people join the companies, but leave managers. This is so true.
I always thought that joining the company and considering their values and principles as important are consistent with mindset of all people inside them. Apparently – it is not. Even when company’s values are perfect and eye-catching through recruitment process for you – the real values and day-to-day behaviors of their employees may differ as much as many people work within it.
However, it may not necessarily mean that employees harm company values on purpose. Sometimes people join certain companies, because some benefits such as: technology, brand or possible profits are equally or more valuable for them than the company values. Nobody gave me the right to condemn such behavior.
On the other hand, it might mean that your manager doesn’t share the company values, which are important to you. It might also mean that your manager would not be the best leader in the world. It happens.
The Earth is not as flat as you initially thought it would be
Let’s assume that company A strongly believes that Earth is flat.
Accidentally – you – the great geologist – believe that as well. What a coincidence!
The Earth is flat – finally somebody said it out loud! You start your recruitment process believing that you’ll change the world and FINALLY the truth will be revealed to the rest of the humanity.
All goes well and you’re joining Company A. You start your geologically – centered work and at day 1 meet Jason.
Jason is your manager.
Jason joined company A, because it is a known fact that they pay well and this is what he was looking for. On the other hand, Jason is personally strongly convinced that the Earth is not flat, but it is a tiny cube. He didn’t revealed it through recruitment process and no one noticed so far.
Jason was promoted to be a manager in company A, because he was dedicated to his work, his professional experience was flawless and his passion to tell people what to do was great. His personal believes are now started to be more visible, but not as important for the company as his performance.
Pro: Jason is a great asset for the company.
Con: He starts convincing you that maybe the Earth is not as flat as you initially thought? Maybe it is more cube-like rather than being flat?
In Polish we would call it “Sytuacja ambiwalentna” – you’ve joined the company in the first place, because you’ve shared the same values and – at the same time – you’ve been given the manager who doesn’t share those values at all.
Sometimes it is not possible to change your manager or project. Surprisingly, it may be way easier to change the company.
I won’t say that this situation is common, but it happens. As I wrote at the beginning – you follow the leader, because you want to – you follow the manager, because you have to.
It was always funny to me all those LinkedIn’s pictures showing how the REAL manager should behave in order to encourage people to be more effective at their work.
Today, I think that meeting a real leader is important to everyone’s professional career – no matter if the leader is running the whole company and is simply an inspiring person – or – is your closest manager. Being led by wise, hard working managers, who share the same values as you do means more than money or benefits. Everyone would prefer to follow people, who support them, show them how to achieve their targets.
We spend most of our working days at work. It is a lot of time. We could use it wisely or not. It’s up to us.
I wish all of you to meet leaders only. Be inspired by them and make the change.
Don’t let yourself be managed by poor managers.
Don’t stick with the companies who promote poor managers.