From Street Kids to Soldiers

Many people in the work force complain about their job. Is it the job or is it your attitude or is it something else altogether? Let’s look at what it could be.

Maybe you do have a crappy situation. Perhaps your colleagues or supervisor are causing you grief. Maybe. Maybe Not. Maybe it is totally the way you are looking at the situation that you are in. Maybe the whole situation is your fault and not that of anyone outside of your circle of influence. Either way, if you are unhappy at your job, you have to find a way to fix it. My friend Mack Story says that most are not job hopping, they are leader hopping. What does that mean exactly? When you are leader hopping, that means you don’t have the right leader to take you to the next level. That leader may just be a manager. The manager manages things and the leader leads people. It may be someone that doesn’t even want to be in the leadership role. That person may be insecure in the position. In other words, that person is a “low-impact leader”. He does what he has to, the bare minimum to get by and doesn’t expect much in return.

Poor Leadership is not a new concept. It has been rearing its ugly head for thousands of years. Let’s talk more about the position that you might be in. Could it be that you are in the wrong position? Could be, but what if you didn’t even need a position to be a leader. “If you can’t led without a position, you won’t lead with a position” says Mack. This is a huge concept. I have an employee now that many people follow because he has the right attitude and is a strong people person. He is not in a position of authority, but if something needed to get done while I wasn’t there, he would be the one to get it done. He has the power of influence. He also has customers that follow him. I work in a gym and customers are always asking him questions about lifting weights and nutrition. Why do you think they do that? He doesn’t have any other position that the others don’t have. He isn’t in a position of authority. He just has the right attitude. When it comes time to elevate someone to the next level, he will be my first choice. I also put him in for employee of they year. He won! He is the real deal. Why do you think he won? A person with the gift of leadership and a broad sphere of influence casts a great shadow. ~ Jimmy Collins

Jimmy Collins was the President and COO of Chick-fil-A. He retired in 2001 after 33 years of service. Working with Truett Cathy, the Chick-fil-A founder, together they brought Chick-fil-A to a $6 billion organization. In his book, “Creative Followership: In the Shadow of Greatness”, he lays out 35 principles that would lead someone to become effective followers. Mr. Collins was the epitome of followership and knew how to follow the leader.  In order to be a great leader, you first must become a great follower. The military does this well. You start in the military at the bottom. In basic training, you are led by the best drill sergeants that could be found. They lead you to do your best. But you follow. You do everything they say. Now while doing this, they are looking for soldiers that are going to stand out. Who is going to rise above the cream of the crop. Within the followers are going to be leaders. Ones who have the natural ability to influence another person into doing what must be done to get the mission accomplished. These certain ones will now be squad leaders and other leaders. On and on training goes until everyone knows how to be a soldier. They are taken from street kids to soldiers. They make or they don’t graduate. Once you learn how to follow, you start a new phase, growth. You learn your job, you continue to learn how to soldier, and many other skills. When you are able to master these new skills, you can get promoted. Eventually if you follow as Mr. Collins did, you are given an opportunity to be a leader. This is not automatic but you are groomed into the position. Just as my employee and I were groomed in the military, we know how to lead with influence. I didn’t know till later though that it was influence that gave me the leadership trait. I thought it was because I was a Sergeant. I thought it was the position. Not so.

So now what do you do with your crappy job? You change it. In order for something to happen different, you have to do something different. Once you start to take a new path, your position changes and you are not where you were. You may not be where you want to be but you are moving forward. Is it you? Is it your colleagues? Is it your boss? The answer could be all three or none at all. What is true is that nothing will change until you change it. As mentioned at the beginning, people leave a job because of their boss, not because of the job. What will you do to change how you feel at work?



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