Thursday, February 28, 2019

ACE #452: Integrity and Honor Still Win the Day

In my 22 years of being in my professional career, I must admit I haven't always had the best relationships with my supervisors. I learned some of the best lessons in my early years about knowing when a battle is or is not mine to fight and when to keep my mouth shut all together. But I've also learned how to stand in integrity and pride myself in working in excellence.

As I'm reflecting back, I recall a time when one of my bosses did everything possible to block me from advancement to the point that I couldn't even get a job in a different department because my name had been sullied being blackballed. And it worked! I was young then and truly didn't know the dynamics of power in the workplace. But it pushed me out of the nest because I knew I couldn't win. The toxicity of the environment began to drain me emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I went to my next job, took the lessons I learned, and got a promotion and a raise. But a few jobs later, my back was against the wall again.

I had a supervisor call me "problematic". The difference in my 20s versus my 40s...I stopped staying in jobs to be comfortable and learned to discern when my season was up. I would not have minded being called anything if it was true. But referring to me as problematic was a shot at my integrity, my character, and my performance. I could ignore most things, but I had to respond in truth. 

My response went something like, "I don't know how I'm problematic. I am the first person to arrive at work everyday. I meet all of my deadlines. And my work product is always presented in excellence." And it was all 100 percent true. 
The response I received was, "But you just don't seem happy here." 
I responded with, "I didn't know that was a requirement of the job. I do my job and I go home." 

I soon realized what that statement truly meant was that I didn't play office politics, suck up, or compromise my integrity to gain favor. The term "you reap what you sow" resides heavily in my spirit and in how I treat people...even in the workplace. God doesn't turn a blind eye to our behavior just because we are at work. We don't just get to say, "I'm just doing my job" in order to justify mistreating others and to abuse our authority. And you certainly don't betray others or throw them under the bus to get ahead. When you walk in God's favor, He orders your advancement and your increase.

But let me help someone out here that I learned from Bishop T.D. Jakes in his series about working in a hostile work environment - you don't go to work to make friends or to be appreciated. I've told people plenty of times that you go to work to get paid for doing a job. As long as you show up to work and do your job, then you have a reasonable expectation that you will get your paycheck. My mantra is, "The 15th and 30th." Stop allowing the environment of your workplace to penetrate your peace and your home life. But on the flip side, I learned something different.

A true leader will respect a person who works in excellence and maintains integrity even when it isn't popular. Being a supervisor and being a leader are not the same. A leader will treat people with honor and respect whether they like someone personally or not. They will make decisions that are best for the organization and not what is best for them personally. They will reward hard work and diligence, but also lead with heart. I have said many times that we often look at people as role models and examples of how to be. Sometimes the lesson is about paying attention to others so that you know how NOT to be.

But I must say, I have been blessed with some of the best supervisors too. One of my former supervisors drove more than an hour and another one 45 minutes to attend my first book signing event. My immediate past and current supervisors showed up at another location to support me. They honored me with their presence and it truly brought joy to my heart.

And it also made me realize all the more that integrity, honor, and excellence still matter...and will always win the day.

1 Samuel 2:30 English Standard Version (ESV)
30 Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

Proverbs 10:9 English Standard Version (ESV)

9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
    but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

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