The Good and The Bad of Work

I heard a good story this week about hard work and commitment. It was the story of a young management consultant working for one of the nation’s largest and most well-known consulting firms. This young consultant kept getting assigned what was considered “bad” work. These jobs were at smaller corporations and did not offer much in the way of exposure and visibility to the partners of the consulting firm. So this young employee asked his mentor, one of the senior managers in the firm, why he kept getting bad work. Here is the response he received from his mentor: “You know, when you get assigned good work, you do good work. But when you get assigned bad work, you do bad work. You need to learn to do good work when you get the bad work, and then you’ll get assigned more good work.”

Regardless of our jobs, most of us have some “bad” work to do. It is rare to find a job where all the work is “good” work. The question for us is do we tackle the bad work with the same vigor, enthusiasm, and commitment with which we tackle the good work? Do we give 100% effort 100% of the time? As leaders, it is our responsibility to model the work ethic and behavior we want from our teams. So we need to always do good work, even when doing the bad work.

There are two other lessons we can learn from this story. First, as leaders, we need to be perceptive enough to see when our team members are not motivated by the work they are assigned. The senior manager in this story understood that the young consultant was capable of doing great work and helped him to see that the stars in our organizations give great effort, and get results, regardless of the assignment. Second, it is great that this consulting firm had created a culture where a young employee had a mentor that he could go to for help. This allowed for open communication that got this young employee with lots of potential back on track.

Take some time this week to think about the lessons from this story. Do you attack the bad work with the same effort that you put into the good work? Are you watching your team members to see if they do good work even when assigned the bad work? Does your culture support open communication so team members can ask questions and get constructive feedback to help them succeed?

If we can increase the good work that our teams are doing, we increase the chances of achieving our goals. So go do good work and inspire those on your team to do good work too!

Thanks for reading,

P.S. – Feel free to share my blog with others and follow me on Twitter, @jvearle.


One thought on “The Good and The Bad of Work

  1. Pingback: The Good and The Bad of Work | Kenneth Leung, Thinking, Seeing, Living

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