For many of us, frustrations at work are limited and short-lived, and simply reflect the ins and outs of our lives and the normal pressures of the job.
For others, though, frustrations can mount, particularly when support from the organization appears to be absent or when it seems like whatever we do, nothing ever changes.
In these moments of desperation, we can sometimes be tempted to call it quits prematurely. Too often, leaders make a decision to leave without the hard analysis they routinely bring to other matters of business.
When I am working with a leader who seems to be at his or her wits end, I encourage them to stop and ask themselves the following two questions:
1. What is keeping me here?
2. What is chasing me away?
I request that the leader not only think about how they would answer each of these questions; I ask them to actually write down their answers on a piece of paper.
This pros and cons analysis facilitates a more reasoned, and less emotional, analysis of whether the leader can still be effective in the organization, despite some or all of the items that appear on the “chasing me away” side of the ledger.
Forcing ourselves to evaluate what’s keeping us where we are, and to identify the factors leading us to want to leave, can sometimes result in the realization that we are more capable than we initially perceived of managing this duality.
We can also realize that while there are serious issues to be overcome and better managed (by us and by others), there are many things that are going well for us and that we have the opportunity to make significant impacts despite the ongoing need to fix other things around us.
Of course, if the analysis points to the futility of staying, and after we have made repeated efforts to influence the needed attention to what’s chasing us away, it’s important to act.