It’s about as certain as the Law of Gravity. I’ve seen it operate hundreds of times.

A gifted leader of integrity consistently makes major contributions to an organization. She or he loves the mission, members of her or his team, and the customers. It’s what motivates them each day.

Unfortunately, he or she has to deal with the wrong senior leadership or work culture or just reports to a bad single supervisor. Predictably, this high performer is overlooked for promotions, never thanked or encouraged like they should be, and subjected to unfair and unjustified criticism. Their ideas which could enhance performance, increase customer satisfaction, and boost revenue are ignored.

Eventually, people who care about them suggest they look for other opportunities. They don’t want to leave actually worrying about those they serve and lead more than themselves. They remain longer than they should even though it’s not good for their career or health to stay. Finally, they make the move.

Within two years at a new organization with the right leadership and a positive culture, they are thriving. Their ideas are welcomed. Their contributions are valued. They are recognized and rewarded. The organization invests in them. They are given the freedom and opportunity to make a positive impact. They are cared about as people.

In fact, I have literally seen someone described at the wrong organization as a weak leader or problem employee enjoy tremendous success at the right company just up the street. Within a few years, they may even be promoted even to top leadership.

If it’s not you, it’s them. Nothing great grows in the wrong garden. People value who they are not who you are. People promote themselves. If you do not fit the leadership or culture of an organization, no amount of talent, character, or hard work will advance your career there. Find the organization who values who you are and seize the opportunity.


From the Teacher: Leadership Lessons with Dr. Saviak is a weekly column with the esteemed Joseph C. Saviak, Ph.D., J.D., M.A., M.S., Management Consulting & Leadership Training

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