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Today I Self-Identify As

July 1, 2015

Today I self-identify as…

Bruce Jenner:  "I'm a woman." “I am Cait.”

Rachel Dolezal:  “I Identify as Black.”

With all of the publicity regarding self-identification, I thought it would be interesting to look at it through a different lens. Both Rachel and Caitlyn have their fans and their foes. Some see them as brave and others see them as strange.  Each and every day we self-identify at work, but too often we self-identify in the wrong ways:

  • Above it all.  This is the employee that feels that rules just don’t apply to him.  He ignores policy and sets a bad example for others. 
  • Green with Envy.  These employees are jealous of others.  Rather than determining what they can do to improve themselves and their performance they let other people’s good fortune eat them up. 
  • All personal and no professional.  This employee is a magician.  They have a tendency to just disappear.  There is always something personal going on that takes precedence.
  • The boxer.  These employees create boundaries making it hard for employees to gain productivity out of them.  The boxer will say things like “That is not in my job description.” 
  • In it for myself.  We have to watch these employees like a hawk.  They take product, client contacts and anything that will serve their purposes when they leave. 
  • The Victim.  This employee spends their days in a pity puddle.  Typically they are not empowered and are afraid.  They do not take initiative and are difficult to motivate. 

No one likes to work with these employees.  Employers can do some things to avoid having many of these types of employees.  Obviously, they can select people in a better manner to create a more productive cultural fit.  They can work on developing strong leadership and a healthy culture.  In the end, each employee makes a choice, either consciously or unconsciously.  Each of us makes a choice. 

Have you ever noticed that even in the worst environments there are still good people?  People that do the right thing and in the right way.  People that effectively create their own culture rather than succumbing to ugliness.  People who are happy and find things to celebrate when others are down. 

I am not suggesting that anyone stay at a difficult place to work.  But there are people that are unhappy in great environments; employees that can’t see the greatness in front of them because they have become “That Guy.”  They have self-identified in the wrong way and they just can’t see it. 

So if Caitlyn and Rachel can self-identify as a woman or black then anyone can self-identify as an engaged and valued employee. Don’t let others define you. Define yourself!