Expiration Date DangerEven You (the Leader) have an Expiration Date!

Do I have your attention now? Well, good. Because this topic is one that I could only wish more employees would get hold of and embrace it. It would make life as a leader much easier in the workplace too. And it would make for a much more satisfied workforce altogether.

Bold statements I know. However, just like that jug of milk in your fridge, you and every member of your team have expiration dates for their time in the office. So unless you are saving that container of milk to make some really great sour cream cookies like my Great Grandmother used to make, you throw it out. And as a member of the team in cubicle nation, you should know that you have an expiration date and it's your responsibility to know when it's time to get out. As a manager, you need to know the signs and help others into that new perspective.

Teams today are filled with people who have adopted
a 'duck and cover' way of co-existing in the workplace.

Middle Managers all around the country are trying their darnedest to figure out how to motivate people who can't seem to find motivation for themselves. Why is that? Why do our employee's stay in one job, one cubicle, one office and be miserable day in and day out, year after year?  Or worse, they get invited into an opportunity (a.k.a got fired or quit) only to take their problems with them, accelerating the impeding expiration date.

You see you and your employee’s have a season to serve a need in the office and on the team. And how long that season lasts is just as much up to them as it is up to you, their leader. I firmly believe it is every team member’s responsibility to know what drives them, their “why” for working where they do and what inspires them about the work they do. It is not JUST the manager’s responsibility to know this for their team.

When we lose site as individuals of where the responsibility lays with regard to job satisfaction, we are likely approaching our expiration. Before you or someone you manage reaches their expiration date, here are some of the warning signs to be looking for to ensure there are fewer sour casualties.

1. Lack of Motivation. People who are often standing on the edge of being overdone with the team and work are much of the time simply bystanders in the office. They avoid new work. Claim they have too much on their plate to take on anything new. And they work at a much lower rate  (capacity and time on projects) than their peers.

2. Constant Negativity. That person who has nothing nice to say about anything that happens int he office. They are the one who is all knowing as to how to solve everything that is wrong but only brings it to the watercolor to complain and never to a team meeting to discuss. They are motivated by their displeasure with the circumstances around them. They have lost their joy.

3. Frenzied Approach to Work. Spinning in circles is not a successful action plan in the office, nor is it of value to anyone. This signifies a loss of focus and one that can rather easily be coached or mentored out of the person. It just takes someone pushing the pause button and putting parameters around their work.

4. Habitual Late or Sick Days. This requires maybe the boldest of all conversations you as manager will have and the least amount of explanation on what it looks like. Note that your HR department will have some particular thoughts on how to handle this particular situation so as I like to say…document. document. document.

Know this, I don’t believe that any of our team members want to be that person nearing their expiration. It is a painful place to dwell. Get to the center of the ‘why’ and you can turn back the ticking clock and turn up the performance.

Question: What have you noticed are some of the warning signs when people have reached their expiration date in the work place?