In the past few days, I have been really irritated with some of the “news” stories I have been hearing on my drive to work. On almost every radio station today, I heard about the divorce of Kim Kardashian and Chris Humphries…really! With all the issues that need exposing, the divorce of this couple was on CNN! The fact that the personal lives of two people is being covered on the news was actually not what got me so bothered. What really burned me was that with every story came a celebration or sorts and laughing that their marriage only lasted 72 days. I didn’t realize that someone’s misfortune’s were a reason to have fun. In another story, I listened as folks bashed professional football player Tim Tebow. People were harsh! “I can’t wait for him to fall flat on his face!” and “I can’t stand this guy, he hasn’t done anything in the NFL yet! I don’t even know if he is a winner”…really? For those of you that don’t know Tim Tebow, he played at the University of Florida and won 2 National Championships and the first college sophomore to win the Heisman Tropy. While in college, he traveled the world to raise $300,000 dollars for charity (when other college kids are headed to south beach for drinking and partying) and he donated his entire $2.5 million NFL signing bonus to charities. Staying with sports for a moment, there is even an Awards Ceremony celebrating failure! SportsNation has the FAILy Awards! Again…when did our society turn into one that celebrates troubles and wishes failure to others?
We need to be careful as leaders, co-workers, and Project Managers that we don’t fall into the same traps. The above stories occur at a completely different level then most of us will ever be exposed, but I have seen it time and again in the workplace. Project Team members who moved from a previous role they held for 10 years just sitting back and watching the ‘new guy’ fail. Managers taking credit for the work of their junior staffers. Project Managers sticking to process in spite of project failure. And don’t forget the water cooler talk…okay, today it is some instant messenger, but folks gossiping about the mistakes (worse…pending mistakes) of their managers or co-workers.
Let me remind you of a few things…
- You Reap What You Sow….people remember the back stabbers, lazy, and credit thieves. It may get you on that next cool project or even that corner office, but it is not sustainable through the method of stepping on others.
- Success is an atmosphere! People that go from deadline to deadline will eventual run out of steam or have more mishaps than successes. There is a difference from experiencing success and being successful. You need to develop a consistent, long-term spirit of excellent, integrity, and diligence to be a successful person. Again, working from success to success isn’t as sustainable as developing a atmosphere/spirit of success in your life.
- Success is top down and contagious! As a leader (positional or influential) you have a responsibility to set a successful atmosphere. You must not engage in office gossip or let people fail just so you can prove a point. As a leader, it is our job to lift others up and develop them. This example will be followed by your team. If you are showing up late, never prepared and gossiping, what do you think the rest of your team is going to do?
- Success requires support. It is no wonder Kim and Chris split up or that Tim Tebow is seeing limited success compared to his historical record….everyone around them is feeding junk into their heads. If you want success as an entrepreneur or business leader, then you need to surround yourself with positive people. Positive isn’t delusional. When something is wrong, we don’t just sing it away but we also don’t approach every challenge with “We can’t do that” or “No way…!” When I interview folks, I rarely talk about their resume/experience. First, it is on the resume, we will touch on it and I will call references. But more importantly, I look for and will hire someone with a positive personality every time over the pompous jerk. Sorry, but I can teach almost any skill I need someone to perform, but I can not teach personality, confidence, and being positive. Considering these are the folks I surround myself with each day, look to for advice/feedback, and will potentially grow into leaders of the org then I want to make sure they are coming to the table with the right foundation to build on.
You don’t always get the opportunity to pick your team members, but you can certainly set the atmosphere of that team. You must step in when you see folks taking credit for others work or waiting to see someone fail. If someone does fail, it does not mean the team gets to run a bash session…step in, recognize the misstep, and get the discussion quickly to one of steps going forward (progress). If someone is new to the project, you need to work with them to bring them up to speed and put them, you and the entire team in a position to succeed.