Those Who Say “Not My Job” Will Never Be Rich

Posted by Kristin Arnold on August 13, 2015

While at our office in the Delta Prince Edward hotel, I stopped to speak with Rhonda Maillet, director of human resources. Standing in the lobby, she noticed litter on the floor and immediately went over picked it up and put it in the trash.

I recall seeing this behavior many times in the past and recognized this as a sign of a truly engaged employee with success in their future.

Years back while providing training at a Fortune 500 corporation, there was a director in one of my programs who was totally engaged. He asked great probing questions and made positive contributions.

During a lunch break, a few of us were walking around the building and talking, when this same director interrupted the conversation to go pick up some litter on the lawn. The managers in front of us looked at it and walked by.

Back in the classroom I asked him why he did that. He explained that he wants to be proud of where he works.

“My customers come here, my neighbors drive by and our competitors look at us as leaders in the industry. Maintaining that image is the responsibility of each of us.”

Over the next few years, he went on to be promoted to VP, and then ended up building his own multi-million dollar company.

I also remember going to lunch at a Wendy’s a few years ago with Danny Murphy, the owner. One of the first things he did when he got out of the car was pick up trash and cigarette butts from the parking lot and put them in the waste bin.

I have experienced that pattern with successful people many times.

When workers are engaged, they take on personal accountability, and do whatever needs to be done — including picking up trash. These self-actualized people are confident, make no excuses, and accept responsibility without hesitation.

But there’s more. We now have research that proves self-actualized people who take an “I’ll do whatever needs to be done” attitude, experience the following:

  1. They are looked on more favorably by senior management.
  2. They earn more respect from coworkers.
  3. They get promoted to higher positions sooner.
  4. In general, they experience more happiness in life.
  5. Many build more personal wealth in their lifetime.

In fact, studies show that self-actualized people deal with issues objectively and honestly, stand up for what they believe and handle crises in a constructive manner. They focus on looking for solutions rather than for someone to blame.

Managers who display these characteristics are more effective because they are able to see possibilities and opportunities in any situation. They take an open-minded, flexible approach to their work, and people.

Individuals who are not self-actualized are unlikely to ever be totally committed to the organization and you will often hear them say: “Not my job”. They are not receptive to change and often become defensive whenever questioned about their work. In the end they will blame others for their lack of success.

The good news – there are assessments available that will indicate whether a potential employee or manager has these characteristics, even prior to being hired or promoted.

So if you ever hear a worker say “not my job” just smile, look them in the eye and say, “You’ll never be rich”.

My question for managers this week: “Are you a role model for inspiring staff to be engaged in their work and committed to the organization’s success?”



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