The Boomerang Effect: The Dark Side of Enthusiasm

Lousy leaders keep the peace by giving gravy assignments to psychos and crappy assignments to people with good attitudes.

The dark side of enthusiasm is ending up with all the crap assignments.

To leaders:

Don’t be the leader who protects lousy employees and punishes the good.

Some bosses give the best assignments to employees who throw a fit when they’re given a crap assignment. It’s short-sighted and self-centered to give all the crappy assignments to people with good attitudes.

Taking on crappy assignments:

Solving tough problems and doing hard work earns you the privilege of solving more tough problems and doing more hard work.

You might think good performance earns you the opportunity for a gravy assignment. But, in reality, people look in your direction when problems are nasty.

Be helpful and aspirational.

Bring it up:

Explore how assignments are given if you seem to end up with all the crappy jobs.

  1. Ask how you might earn the opportunity to take on an exciting job.
  2. Explain that you want to position yourself to add the most value and advance your career. Be aspirational, not confrontational.
  3. Seek feedback on behaviors that might hold you back. Dig into generalities. Seek specific suggestions.
  4. Don’t pressure the boss to make promises or commitments about the future. Keep in mind that many factors impact the way assignments are given.
  5. Don’t complain to the boss about the psychos on the team. Maybe the boss hired them.

Taking one for the team:

A cowardly boss will make excuses for giving psychos the best assignments. If you hear excuses or self-justification, sharpen your resume. It won’t change.

Don’t work in an organization where ‘taking one for the team’ is rewarded by the expectation you’ll always take one for the team.

Don’t let generosity be the reason you let people walk on you.

How might you get the most out of your enthusiasm without becoming a doormat?