For those of you praying to keep your jobs and to survive the now rampant layoffs, here’s a tip: Work to make your contributions valuable.
Job security comes from adding value in ways that are emotionally inexpensive to your employer. The open jobs that are left out there will go to candidates who can exhibit their ability to contribute great value in spite of challenging circumstances or "unfair" situations. Your ego affects this equation in two ways: It keeps you from adding value to your organization and your clients, and it makes you emotionally expensive to your employer.
The ego’s job is to seek approval, accolades, appreciation and validation. It does this at a high cost, many times forgoing the potential for a great outcome in order to be "right." This leads many bright and talented professionals to argue the worth of a client’s goal or to critique all decisions or even to withhold their expertise in order to prove their point. The ego consumes a great deal of energy colluding with others debating the merit of an idea – energy that could be used to add value and to make the idea work.
For true job security:
Depersonalize your work environment. You have definitely personalized your work when you are spending any time or energy getting others to believe that you are right, they were wrong or that you should be appreciated more than you are. When you can forgo the need for credit and focus solely on what you could do next that would add the most value, you will receive all that and more. Why? Because you are adding value by accomplishing organizational goals, not feeding the ever-starving ego.
Rid yourself of defense. Defense is the first act of war…and defense is the specialty of the ego. Defense will always lead to a fall from employment grace. To move from defense to adding value, consciously agree with the goals of others, immediately and without reservation. Say "yes" and "I want that too." Find out where you can agree, validate the goals of others and state it clearly. Join your boss or your client, jump in and improvise with them rather than working to stop the action or attempting to redirect the efforts in a self-serving way.
Want to add value without the emotional drain? Say "yes" a whole lot more and use the word "and" often. Resist the urge to defend. Use great words such as, "oh," "I see," "good to know," "wow," "thanks" and "here’s how I can help" to keep from defending and to give yourself time to choose your next action wisely and with an eye toward value.
Focus your energies not on what you are receiving, but on what you are able to give, provide and create. A contribution freely given, above and beyond the craziness of who’s right and wrong, whose job it is, who screwed it up, and even whether or not it is supposed to be like this…is one of amazing value without the drain and drama. Those who contribute freely are not only secure in their current jobs, but also extremely marketable to hiring organizations.
Remember, you rock and Cy rocks!
Lead on my friend.