“This too shall pass,” says the negative co-worker
Leadership changes in organizations usually signal change is coming to the employees. This could be new initiatives, new ways of doing business, or just new leadership styles, but change is coming. High performers may find change to be difficult, but will embrace the challenge and work hard to meet or exceed the expectations of the new leader. Low performers are busy thinking and saying, “This too shall pass. Just wait and see.”
I remember when I first started teaching and new standards or changes came from the State Education Department. I read all the information, began working on an implementation plan, and figured out ways to stay on top of the communication from the State Department. That’s when I encountered my first negative co-worker who said, “This too shall pass.” I heard others say, “Don’t you know how many changes we’ve seen over the course of our career?” OR “Don’t work so hard on that. It will change again in a few years, so just keep doing what you’ve been doing. That’s what I do.” I was surprised by this attitude and found that it was best to steer clear of them. I was not willing to lower my expectations for myself and didn’t want to be around such negative minds. Sadly as time went on, I came to realize that these negative, low performers were known by everyone and yet it appeared that it was not being addressed because they had been in the organization for a long time.
As I grew in my own leadership, I found that many school leaders have a difficult time addressing poor performers which can contribute to overlooking poor behavior or negativity. This hurts the leader’s credibility. High performers expect and champion leaders who address issues, negativity, and low performance. High performers get exhausted when leaders don’t address the issues because they strive for success and work to implement initiatives and procedures with fidelity. When leaders turn a blind eye to subpar work or blatant refusal to change, it is more likely that the initiative or procedure will fail which leads to a desire to try something else. This only reinforces what the negative co-worker or low performer said from the start, “This too shall pass.” Instead of needing to try something else, it would be beneficial for leaders to stay the course, make a plan and work the plan, and develop systems and measures.
Built into the plan should be the path to reinforce implementation with fidelity and holding all staff accountable for reaching success. By staying the course and addressing issues along the way, leaders will either raise up poor performers or help them to see that the organization is changing and if they are not onboard, then maybe it’s not the place they truly want to be. Leaders may feel badly at first because that negative employee or low performer may push back on the leader, but that too shall pass and the organization will be better for it in the long run.
Feedback is the breakfast of champions. — Ken Blanchard