Dear Dan: I Feel Burn-Out Because Administration Promotes Unqualified People
First, I really enjoy your leadership tweets.
Second, I’m currently at a job, where the administration seems to be promoting ‘yes men’ and not qualified people to supervisors. Not leaders.
This has caused me to become somewhat burnt out in a career that I love. That being said, as a person striving to grow as a leader, how does one follow someone who is not a leader, when following is required?
I’ve struggled to wrap my mind around this. Thought I’d reach out and hopefully get your thoughts.
Frustrated and Burnt Out
Thank you for the good word. It feels good to contribute through the work of our hands.
You are wise to strive for growth as a leader. Self-development multiplies contribution. Think of it as unselfish selfishness.
You may be in a perfect place to grow.
In a disappointing world, it’s easy to justify self-defeating behaviors. We reason, if ‘they’ are going to be idiots, I’ll do a lousy job to spite them.
Only a fool justifies self-defeating behaviors. (We all play the fool from time to time.)
Personal development is essential to fulfilling your purpose in the world. Richard Lieder summarizes our purpose in two words, GROW and GIVE.
A person who neglects their own development can’t fulfill their purpose in this world.
Lousy leaders present growth opportunities. What skills and character traits are important in your environment?
If weak leaders wear you out, I suspect you’re good at speaking your mind. If that’s true, learning how to influence without antagonizing will expand your ability to contribute.
Develop the skill of presenting alternatives tactfully and creatively.
Learn to stand your ground with kindness.
You’re probably tired of trying to see the good side. Redouble your efforts. Negativity doesn’t serve you.
Perhaps you feel passed over. Practice gratitude, even if you don’t feel grateful. Emotion follows action. Conduct produces feelings.
If you are a positive person in a lousy environment, you are a person worth following.
I bet you don’t mind rocking the boat. No one likes a boat-rocker when the goal is going with the flow.
Explore creative ways to make improvements. It will take patience for you to do this. Patience will serve you well as you develop your leadership.
“Leadership is influence.” John Maxwell
When we’re frustrated, we’d like to kick people in the pants. There is a place in leadership for getting in people’s faces, but successful influence requires more tact than force.
Define your role as influencer, not controller.
#5. Energy management.
You’re never at your best when you feel burned-out. Frustration drains your energy. Don’t rely on others to fuel your energy.
Explore ways to fuel your own energy and let go of frustration.
Successful leaders learn to monitor, manage, and fuel their own energy. It’s an essential skill if you hope to flourish.
Burn-out is no laughing matter.
Don’t let the people around you determine the quality of your work. I believe you feel burned out because you love doing remarkable work. You wouldn’t feel burned out if you didn’t.
Do a phenomenal job because you’re a remarkable person.
Keep your eye peeled for opportunities outside your organization. Remember to run toward, not away. Don’t focus on running away from your current situation. Instead, figure out the best environment for you and pursue it with gusto.
You earn opportunities by doing a great job where you are.
I write these words with respect for you and appreciation for the challenge you face. I believe you are a person who rises to meet challenges.
You have my best,
What potential opportunities might Frustrated and Burned Out explore?
What potential dangers does Frustrated and Burned-Out face?
Note: I relax my 300-word limit for ‘Dear Dan’ posts.
Hello Dan, Liked all the 6 points suggested, enjoyed this key advice at this time of year.
Thanks Pat. I appreciate your affirmation.
I wish I had seen this post several years ago when I was dong what I loved in a debilitating work environment. I focused on doing important, meaningful work and was an influencer. However, the disappointment and burnout led me to look for a healthy work environment. I defined my goals and found exactly what I was looking for in an organization. Unfortunately, I had to leave behind the work I loved.
Dear Frustrated and Burnt Out,
You stated,”…administration seems to be promoting ‘yes men’ and not qualified people to supervisors. Not leaders.”
Administration is a broad term. Does “administration refer to one person or several?
Request a meeting with the person who makes the decisions on the promotions and ask questions.
–What qualities do you look for in candidates?
–What are the most important qualities?
–What do I need to work on to be a more qualified candidate?
I am a big fan of the “disagree and commit” philosophy. There is a time to debate and disagree with your boss in meetings or one on one. But once a decision is made you need to be a team player and commit to implementing that plan of action.
Also, you say you “love your career.” Do you love the work you currently do? Are you sure you even want to be a supervisor?
Leaders influence and inspire people to make positive changes. I’m sure you have some opportunities to do that in your current you.
Finally, you may have to look elsewhere for advancement opportunities.
This is what I needed to listen to, hear, and act upon also. Although it’s not what I wanted to hear, it is reality from experiences. It’s hard to lead and stay on top when others less qualified are appointed and promoted because of “being the right fit” when those words cannot be articulated. Thanks for your words of wisdom.
Dear frustrated and burnt out,
Only you know deep inside what you prefer?
Ask yourself the questions in a Pro/Con strategy what works, what doesn’t?
If you love what you do perhaps keep doing what you love just under a different roof?
As “Paul” suggests do you really want to be a Supervisor?
Once you answer your hard questions with your heart, let the answers gide your soul?
We will never know if we don’t try to make moves or decisions later in life and look back regretfully.
Talk with a group who has similar isues and see what answers you find as a commonpoint that can possibly be changed or fixed.
W never know unless we try!
“run toward, not away” is so important! I completely agree and yet it can be so difficult when you just want to get out of a situation. While it is crucial to know what you DON’T want as much as knowing what you DO want, running towards something feels like a pursuit rather than a trap. It has fuel.
As for your typical 300 words limit- have you gotten to a point that you can just tell when you’ve hit them or do you still need the word count. Just curious.
Dan, you have written a very helpful post that I have shared with some friends who are working in frustrating environments or engaged in long job searches where less qualified people seem to be the ones hired. As one of those in the second group (job-seekers), I also try to remember the principle – “Don’t run towards the same kind of place and leaders that you are fleeing.”
Excellent post and great advice, Dan, and this coming from one who has “been there.” I spent almost ten eight years of unappreciated and largely unrewarded toil in one organization, but focused on self-development and preparation for future opportunities, wherever they might arise. I also developed a loyal “following” among my peers and those junior to me in the organization. When the right time came, I left there for an opportunity in another organization, where I spent the next twenty-seven years in progressively responsible leadership positions. Now in retirement, I still do some pro bono policy development and training consulting for this organization.
By maintaining a positive, “I’m going to learn from this experience” attitude and a dedication to the work (not the management) one might be surprised at the way lived lessons, dedicated preparation and the “circle of influence” can be leveraged into true leadership, regardless of one’s position on the org chart.
This is very helpful
If you really want some advice I would need more information. Tell me more about what you think makes a person a “yes man”? It’s quite possible your organization prioritizes stability, optimism, and teamwork. You may want to change things the company doesn’t want changed. This is not a disagreement of leadership this is a difference of strategic direction. Also what qualifications are the new leaders lacking? I’m suggesting you make sure you are privy to the big picture and are on the same page with the leadership. As a starter I suggest you have a meeting with your boss and tell him you love your job, you love the company and you want to contribute at the highest level possible. Then say “what can I do better” ? Then say… Please don’t sugar coat it, tell me the truth I really want to know. If you are in a culture of “yes men” your boss is probably terrified to tell you anything that could be negative. You will need to practically beg him for the truth. You should also add, “I’ve noticed many of the people being promoted are highly agreeable (don’t say yes men), where do you think I am on the “agreeableness” scale? Do you think I am too outspoken? Lastly, you want to say “I have ideas that I believe will make the company stronger, can you coach me on how I should share those ideas? I don’t want to come across as a complainer”. Bottom line, you need to find the proper language and the right time and place to share within the company what you shared here while always being open to the fact that YOU might be part of the problem. This will keep you humble in your communications.
Great advice Dan! Throughout my career I experienced this type of frustration. I actually used a lot of your ideas, along with the approach that if I did the best work possible and kept a positive attitude (which was hard at times) then they couldn’t ignore me forever. Also, it was amusing to me to watch THEIR frustration and bewilderment when they couldn’t get me off track. Eventually I rose through the organization and the “good ole boys” faded away!