A few years back, I found myself at a crossroad where I had to decide whether or not to continue a partnership. As I struggled to make (and stick with) a choice, I asked myself what I had to give and receive from this relationship. Often times we find ourselves at difficult decision junctures where pro and con arguments are equally solid. It is at times such as these that the need to ask ourselves the question, “How can I make a difference?” comes into play.
In today’s American culture it is all too easy to make decisions on the basis of, “What’s in it for me?” When this happens in the corporate workplace, the results can be seen in the alienation of peers, supervisors, and direct-reports. You know the “it’s all about me” type. The up and coming power focused employee constantly too busy to have lunch with co-workers, the boss who almost never attends company gatherings, or the mail room clerk who consistently looks for ways to only deliver the mail. What they all have in common is that they are each too busy to make a real contribution to anything that does not directly or indirectly serve their perceived interest(s).
If the “it’s all about me” syndrome sounds a little too accurate for comfort, take heart, it’s never too late to make a modification or two. Here are a few suggestions on how you might strengthen others by sharing power and discretion or at least take some of the focus off your aspirations for the sake of the larger good.