Roll With the Punches
Forgive my need to share a cliché but sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. At various times in my career I’ve run into people who are bitter because their manager or leader made a promise but did not follow through on it. As a result of their bitterness they let it affect their future performance which in turn can prevent them from reaching the level of success that they were hoping to achieve.
I can’t stress this next statement enough. Your manager is a human being. They are not infallible. They cannot predict the future any more than you can. At the same time, I can tell you from experience that there is a strong desire in many managers to say things to their high performers that they are probably better off keeping to themselves. Most of the time this isn’t due to lack of control. It’s a simple desire to acknowledge the hard work of the employee and make certain that they understand how much the manager values them.
Yes it’s imprudent, but it happens. As employees we have to remember that our leaders can only control what’s in their power. Each of us should be able to relate in one way or another. For example, sometimes at work I’ll make promises to customers that X work will be finished by Y time. I don’t put my name and reputation on the line for something like that very often, and never unless I think that it’s a lead pipe lock that I can deliver. Unfortunately, sometimes I’m wrong. I’ll learn later that a person I was relying on is no longer available, or that there is a technical problem that prevents the work from getting done. In these situations I’ll work my butt off to find a workaround and bring my promise to fruition by hook or by crook. But sometimes I fail. It’s important to face that fact, sometimes we all fail, including our managers.
In the scenario above you can see that I went to extra lengths to make sure that I was able to follow through on my promise. We have to realize that our managers are the same way when they’ve said something to us and then have to go back on it. They weren’t setting you up because they like frustrating you or making your life more difficult. They probably pulled as hard as they could behind the scenes, but at the end of the day, when there are no choices left, you do what you have to do.
It is also important to remember the spiritual side of things. I firmly believe that we are not always supposed to find our way into certain jobs and roles. When an opportunity is missed people’s first reaction is frustration and the thought that they just lost something good. Anyone who’s lived in the business world for a decent amount of time can tell you that the grass is not always greener. That thing that your boss promised you and failed to come through on might have been the worst possible change that could have happened in your life. That’s right, sometimes setbacks are a blessing. It’s hard to see it, but it is true.
So you’re faced with a choice. Do blame the boss? Do you mope around? Does your self-esteem plummet? Do you let something like this affect your performance. The answer is no, look on the bright side. Any time a manager makes a promise to you about something significant it goes to shows how much they must think of you, and I guarantee that they don’t keep that to themselves. Maybe it isn’t your turn. But if you keep on trucking and praise God for what you have then eventually it will be your turn, and you can be confident that it’s the right turn for you.