An anonymous FC Now reader, who signed their message “Concerned,” emailed Fast Company with some concerns about the commitment and honesty of their employer.
“Concerned”, you’ve just asked us a million dollar question. I can’t tell you how many workers grapple with the issues you mentioned: concerns about the commitment of leaders to the growth of people and a boss who is less than honest. The real challenge comes because of your stated values and commitments: professional growth, intellectual challenge and actions guided by integrity. Clearly there is a disconnect between what you want and value and how others in the organization either believe or behave.
Try to determine which it is. If organizational leaders (including your boss) truly don’t care about development and/or believe that dishonesty is just fine (for whatever reasons), you could have an irreconcilable values misalignment. If that’s the case, consider looking elsewhere for work (maybe even another division or department in the same company). I’m serious. Major values disconnects can cause severe dissatisfaction, even illness.
If the problem is, instead, with behaviors, then I’d bet my lunch on there being fixes for your dilemma. For example, you could ASK for growth and learning opportunities. Follow our guidelines for asking, e.g. be sure to accompany your request with a WIIFT (what’s in it for them?) and see what happens.
If it appears that your boss has been dishonest, check it out (carefully/tactfully). Be sure you know what he meant to say or intended to do before you label him as dishonest. And remember to “ask” for the behaviors you want. For example, an executive with whom I work asked his boss to communicate “early and honestly” with him. The boss said he often felt squeezed by this employee’s need to know and the mandate from the higher-ups to keep information close to the vest. They crafted an agreement whereby the boss would be honest and tell the employee when he was not at liberty to share certain information.
Best of luck as you attempt to align your and your organization’s values. Sometimes you have to go to find what you’re looking for. But often you don’t. Try the alignment right where you are first.