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Get on or get on with – Getting back up

Who do you get up for in the morning? Strange question. Robert Hogan says we are driven by two desires – to get on (self-advancement) and to get on with (the need to co-operate to get things done). I think there’s an obvious third – helping others get on. Or, in the current climate, get up when they can’t see a way up.

There’s been a lot of trauma in teams and organizations over the past year. And a lot of dashing of personal aspirations of health, wealth and happiness. Well, wealth anyway.

But, the one good thing about a lot of our material aspirations being curtailed by the change in economic conditions is that it allows us to channel our need for fulfillment in what might be called less selfish ways – helping others get up.

Bill Taylor puts it this way: “The answer to ugly times? Do something beautiful,” giving a couple of examples of how random acts of kindness at work lift the spirit and remove a sense of powerlessness – both of which are casualties of the recession, and both of which we can do something about as individuals.

Taylor says:

“Now, I’m not suggesting that we can kill this recession with kindness, or that ‘senseless acts of beauty’ can cure a truly hideous financial mess. But tough economic times have a way of bring out the worst in our companies and ourselves. So let’s work hard to bring out the best in ourselves. It may not amount to a stimulus package, but it may make it easier for all of us to get through the day — and eventually get back to prosperity.”

There is a leadership essence at work here. Too often, leadership is about self-advancement – Hogan’s ‘get on’ drive. Steve Farber, in his Extreme Leadership blog, reminds us that no matter what level in the organization you are at, leadership is not about you, with his ‘Greater Than Yourself’ campaign:

“Instead of wallowing in your own despair, pick someone at work to invest in, with the intent of making that person greater than you are. Be a coach, guide, or mentor in the truest, most personal sense of the words by choosing someone to be your GTY (Greater Than Yourself) project, and see what that does to your own predicament, your own state of mind.”


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