The Value of Living by Your Principles and Being Fired

managerswayWhat happens to managers who are caught in a culture they don’t fit into? Do they change themselves? Do they knuckle under, weighed down by the power of the authority above them? Do they stay true to themselves?

Which strategy are you using to stay sane in a disagreeable environment? All of the above and combinations of all the above have been used by people like you. Each of us has to answer for ourselves so that we can sleep at night, or at least only stay awake over the rest of the issues facing most of us.

Many years ago, with a fresh MBA in Organization and Management and a job managing other people, I got hooked on McGregor, Townsend, Peters, Levitt and others who told me that the best organizations were those which focused on people. Theory Y was so much better than Theory X. It certainly was the way I wanted to manage others and to be managed myself.

I quickly found myself in the minority. While some peers and a couple of members of the senior management team thought this way, my own boss did not. Instead of finding ways to please him, I stubbornly hung on to my vision of “how things ought to be.” I led my small staff the way I wanted to be led. I developed them as managers and supervisors. I created teams to solve problems.

I developed my own skills. I learned how to listen well, to coach myself to be patient when I wasn’t, and to be a skillful facilitator who was able to bring people with disparate points of view together to create a consensus with a bias for action.

I was demoted.

Then, when my boss was fired, I was given his job.

But wait! It doesn’t end here.

The Plant Manager who promoted me was replaced by Corporate and the game changed again. And again I was asked to give up my game for another one. So……

When you find yourself here, take heart! You’ll be fired!

No, really! This is a good thing. It means that your integrity is still intact. Now go find the right company, one that will appreciate your contributions, let you lead others the right way, even let you teach your way to your peers.