Monday, July 11, 2011

Pick your battles carefully .... the win may not be worth it ...

Don’t’ fight a battle is there is no value in the win”, Erwin Rommel

I was asked the other day --- ‘Dan, what do you think is one action that can short circuit someone in their career life outside of the normal stuff that can get you fired?”

Good question ….

And then I knew the answer …

… Not picking your battles carefully …

Some people seem to be constantly embroiled in battle on some level. They battle with their boss, their co-workers, other departments, etc. They become known for this ineffective behavior, and it is often a career-killer. Those who battle everything are labeled as “difficult”, and are not team players. They do not grow – their value to the company is questionable.

Unfortunately this tends to permeate in other parts of their life as well – with friends, at home, in relationships and with those who service them (vendors, retailers et al). You see these people – they flip out at the drop of a dime, they are ready to engage -- they don’t appear to be happy, and it shows. You can be sure that in the workplace this shows too, and this can impede growth, promotion and development.

Finding a way to be harmonious with others – without getting stepped on – is being a leader and is a desired asset. The opposite is a reputation – or a brand that one doesn’t want – and it goes along with them, from job-to-job.

The key to developing your brand of one who works well with others, who is a leader and can foster good relationships is simple: Pick your battles carefully. Engage in the battles that are truly important --- and let the others go. Think about the results you can gain and the value of the “win” if you engage, and measure it against the risk. You will let some things slide – and while it might be difficult at first, it is a better decision at the end of the day when you look back. You will be also be happier and more content and your value will consistently increase and you will go places. This is a talent learned usually later in life – in fact research shows us that older people tend to pick their battles more carefully than younger folk – and I will admit myself, this is true of me. Maybe it is maturity; maybe it is just letting go of the notion that you must win – always and at whatever cost and god forbid, never lose.

Engage but do so when it makes real good sense. Win the battles – the big and important ones – and let the others go. That is leadership – that is a person respected in the workplace and in life.

And thank you for reading this …

Dan Moran

President & Founder


Career Management & Transition Specialists

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