Here are some things I’d like you to know.
I’m not lazy. I’m not stupid. I didn’t start out apathetic or disinvested. I appear that way because of years of lectures, motivational speeches and “operational goals” that had no follow through. Leaders who talked about work/life balance, care, mission and values… time and time again, and didn’t follow through.
I know how it looks. I clock in, show up, get just enough done and clock out. I didn’t used to be that way. I was on fire when I got my degree. On my first job, I gave the company all I had. I really thought I was a contributor. I was going to advance, develop people, lead teams. My work was going to have deep purpose and I really cared about that. That was a long time ago. Now I’m just numb.
After years of leadership that dangled carrots, under-appreciated my efforts and just plain passed me over, I realized the truth. I simply had to stop caring so much. The more I tied my self-worth to hollow leadership, the more a little piece of me died. It was either sell my soul to the company and crappy leadership, or care less, and keep myself sane. I’m not apathetic, I’m a survivor. I don’t want to BE you, I just want to believe you.
You want me to be able to see the big vision, you want me to be engaged, motivated and inspired. You want me to work smart and hard. But quite frankly, there’s only so many times you allow yourself to believe in someone and have them let you down, before you realize you are participating in a game where you are the resident sucker. To keep jumping on board that crazy train, now that is just stupid.
I know you are paying the price for my past wounds from lazy leadership. I’m sorry for that. Maybe you’re the real deal. Maybe you’re different. You think I should prove myself to you and make myself worthy of your leadership, but actually, it’s the other way around. There are so many toxic corporate cultures and so many fake leaders out there that it is you, dear leader, that needs to prove yourself to ME. Are you worth me putting my heart and mind on the line for? Are you worthy of my extra time, my solutions and strategies that are bold, innovative, and disruptive?
Is your leadership worth following? Are you in the business of growing me? I’m weary of following leaders because I have to. I want to follow you because I am inspired to.
All of us