1 Rule to Avoid Being Fired
1 Rule to Avoid Being Fired
70% of Executive Dismissals are for the Same Single Reason – Make Sure You Don’t Give That Reason – Follow the 1 Rule to Avoid Being Fired.
Most people assume that when a person is fired it is because they didn’t, could not or cannot do the job; whatever the reason, they have failed to deliver as agreed, usually several times.
In environments where performance matters, that is true.
A quick aside, in some countries, and organisations, it is nearly impossible to fire someone for under-performance (why would anyone want to create a system like that?). Examples: France, civil service organisations in many countries. In such places, the reasons required for any dismissal are much more serious. In such places the 1 Rule to Avoid Being Fired does not apply. To enable us to explore the factors applicable in the real world we will exclude the information from such countries and organisations.
When people break the 1 rule to avoid being fired, what happens?
They get fired, eventually.
What is that single reason that accounts for 70% of executive dismissals?
The inability to handle people.
Simple as it sounds, that is exactly as you would expect: an executive who upsets people around him/her and thus simply cannot bring out the best in people, has to go, for the benefit of all. 70% of executive dismissals are for that one simple reason.
It is easy to say: make sure you get on with people and give yourself the greatest chance of bringing out the best in them. What is a touch more difficult is knowing how to do that, and even more difficult is learning how to do that well!
How do you learn to be one who stays, who thrives, who makes it to the top?
Develop advanced social skills.
It is a huge subject. Most people in the social sciences know that social skills have been studied for many, many decades, yet people outside of the field are only aware of terms like “emotional intelligence.” For the record, it seems that all that was new in that term was the packaging of long-known social skills principles for public consumption. That aside, let’s get back to the factors that lead to the 70% of executive dismissals and how you can make sure that you are not a casualty.
Lack of Diplomacy
Great diplomats have known for millennia what it takes to make and keep peace. Exactly the same principles are known by top executives. Who are those executives? Those who were not “exited” for their inability to keep the organisational peace and bring out the best in others.
When a potential politician exhibits lack of diplomacy, the population gets frightened, but few can articulate why. Here is why.
As humans we instinctively know that lack of diplomacy leads to conflict and that conflict usually carries a heavy price. With politicians, it can lead to war, with executives it leads to chaos, lost clients, lost staff, alienated shareholders, anxious bosses and eventual dismissal. Fortunately the skills of diplomacy are quickly learned when coached properly.
Lack of Political Skills
Linked to diplomatic skills, but different enough to have its own category, those who do not understand the political dimensions of the executive game usually do not last in organisations. Typically the political novice has no idea about the motives and agendas of others in the dance of corporate politics, and as a result s/he steps all over politically sensitive toes. That is then interpreted as an inability to get along with others, followed by a hasty “exit event.”
Lack of Listening Skills
One of the causal factors behind the above two, is lack of listening skills. If an executive is not able to really listen to others s/he cannot behave diplomatically, or handle the political environment. Here is the cold harsh reality, most people have dismally poor listening skills, yet almost all self-report as having above average listening skills. In psychological terms that is self-delusion. Self-delusion leads to a host of other problems, including lack of awareness of reality.
Lack of Awareness of Reality
When the ego enters the picture, as it does when we want to be thought of as “good” at something, people start thinking along lines that are not connected to reality: “My listening skills are really good.” The ego makes it difficult to get along with others. People who are focused on themselves, and how they appear, are unpleasant to be around, every interaction is about them and their objectives. Others can sense when they are a bit player in someone’s ego game, and react badly to being treated like that. When an executive does not have an awareness of the reality s/he has created by his/her behaviour, the pink slip MUST be issued, or help must be sought before the pink slip appears!
Lack of Understanding of Motives
Related to the problem with understanding others well enough to read the political landscape, is lack of awareness of the motives of others. You just can’t imagine anyone operating as an executive if s/he doesn’t understand human motivation. Yet that seems to be the case with most executives, if you look at the research on employee performance: most people report that their boss does not fully understand them or their motives. The worst offenders are so bad that they alienate all staff, and staff who have a choice vote with the service and leave. Those who do not have a choice (the bottom end of the competence spectrum) stay. Net effect: a reduction in the overall productivity of the section or department to the point where it is noticeable, and the eventual dismissal of the executive.
We have listed just five of the breaches of the one rule that account for 70% of executive dismissals. What is that 1 Rule to Avoid Being Fired? Become brilliant at handling people. Become great at bringing out the best in people.
If you want to make sure that you are not one of the 70% number. If you want to acquire the executive skills that can propel you to the top, you may want to take up this offer. Prof Nigel MacLennan of PsyPerform will provide you with a free SKYPE development session.
To take up that offer contact PsyPerform here.
Prof Nigel MacLennan
Copyright PsyPerform 2016.
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