September 13, 2011 by Joyce Richman · Comments Off
Three employees in the workplace. Each one tries our patience and challenges our notions of fair play:
The first is a free radical existing in a conservative, hierarchical institution. He’s as difficult as he is brilliant, appealing, and maddening. He has a small but adoring claque of supporters who follow his lead and go wherever he takes them. He thrives on their adoration and holds them close; his inner circle, his chosen few.
All would be well without a glaring glitch: he has more ardent enemies than faithful friends and his enemies work to stop him at every turn. They rail against him to anyone who will listen and the listeners are legion. They vow to stamp him out, to rid the business of the likes of him.
“He’s dangerous!” they say. “He’s not to be trusted with your information, your career, your friends, or your wives.”
No matter how strong the opposition, he’s promoted. Higher he goes, defying gravity, logic, and the best efforts of those armed to bring him down. What protects him from constant ambush and frontal attack?
He makes money. Lots of money. He makes money for stakeholders and shareholders. To them this guy is unbeatable and they want him untouchable. They’re not interested in what he does as long as he’s left alone to do it.
He’s a rainmaker who lives on the edge and dances on the bubble. He answers to no one despite rank and file’s insistence that he be reined in and held accountable for the error of his ways.
What does this rainmaker want? It’s not the money, and the chase is getting old. He wants respect from the top and a place at the table. He wants to be a decision-maker and power broker, but he doesn’t have the political savvy or patience to get there.
The only weapon his antagonists have is the one he can’t defend against. What he wants most he’s least apt to get. He wants legitimacy. He’s target practice and it’s all coming from friendly fire. He’s getting tired and it’s getting old. His sacred circle is getting smaller. The bursts of applause are sounding like one hand clapping. He doesn’t know if he can do it anymore.
Unsavory character #2: This one looks like all style and no substance. He’s a smile wide and an inch deep. He’s a charmer who knows what to say and when to say it. He knows who to know and where to find them. Most importantly, he knows their secrets. This handsome rake with the twinkling eye works when he pleases and it seldom does. When you know where the bodies are buried and who buried them, you don’t have to.
He’s been at the same company since he found the keys and he has no interest in leaving. Why should he? He’s moved up the ranks without removing his jacket. He’s due to retire in just a few years with an unbroken record of pocketing the work of others then passing it off as his own. Does anyone dare blow his cover? Not unless they’re willing to have their name and reputation permanently tarnished. And there isn’t anyone around willing to take the chance.
Unsavory character #3: The gatekeeper. This person is in charge of keeping the institution safe from internal attack. She believes that the enemy is us, so she is ever vigilant. No one has asked that she be. No one believes there’s a threat. She contends that’s the case because she never rests.
She stands by the entrance with her eye on the clock. She jots down names and times of arrival. She returns to her post at the close of day, notebook in hand, cross checking for early departures. She gives her reports to managers who ask what else she does in the course of her day. She bristles, stung by the question. Then carefully notes who said it and the time it was said. Her reason for existence at this or any job is to create a problem that doesn’t exist.
What can be done about these three?
* * * *
Yes! You may use this article by Executive and Career Coach, Joyce Richman, in your blog, article in your blog, newsletter or website as long as you include the following bio box:
Joyce Richman (www.richmanresources.com) has been specializing in executive and career coaching since she started her own practice in 1982. She works in a variety of environments including: higher education, manufacturing, sales, marketing, media, technology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, banking and finance, service, IT, and non-profit sectors. A member of the adjunct faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership, Joyce is certified to administer a number of feedback and psychological instruments. Joyce is a weekly guest on WFMY-TV and the career columnist for The Greensboro News & Record. She is the author of Roads, Routes and Ruts: A Guidebook to Career Success and co-author of Getting Your Kid Out of the House and Into a Job. A popular speaker, Richman conducts seminars and workshops throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Her coaching profile can be found at TheCoachingAssociation.com