Wednesday, 22 February 2017


During my career I often heard of and saw others who had made a personal sacrifice for their company.  Most times this related to things like extensive travel; late or early hours (or both); weekends and holidays consumed with things of work.  Their feeling was that this level of sacrificial dedication was a good way of being considered for promotion or deserving of some recognition…particularly financial. 

A standard dictionary definition of sacrifice in this context put it this way.
 “…the surrender of something for the sake of something else…”

Expressed in this manner there is a certain magnanimous aspect to the individual’s efforts.   But that would be the wrong interpretation!

The fact of the matter is that the individual has not sacrificed anything.  Rather, they have made a conscious and self- serving decision.  Wrap it up in whatever other rationale that may suit you, but the true sacrifice is made not by the individual but by those impacted by their decision.

Whether it is family or friends who lose the opportunity of relationship with the individual, these are those who are truly sacrificing something. 

Let’s stop sugar coating the truth of the matter.  When someone CHOOSES to throw themselves into their work to the extent that it causes disconnect with those who should otherwise expect this person’s time and attention, then this person has not sacrificed anything.  They are pursuing that which they have chosen.

As a leader, are you justifying time away as a sacrifice you are making?  I submit that you are deluding yourself.  Clearly there are times when work appropriately demands more of you than is otherwise reasonable.  But when that demand is chronic, your choices are a bigger part of the problem.

Don’t pretend that the company is at fault.  Sacrifice only pertains to the relationship between individuals.  A company has no personality and therefore can neither demand nor recognize a sacrifice.

Leaders model behaviour for others.  In a perfect world it should be very much a ‘do as I do’ example.  How do you measure up?  Are you encouraging the sacrificial work ethics of others or are you - by word and by deed – demonstrating balance.

Your personal welfare and the welfare of your team members supersede the welfare of the company.  Be the leader that demonstrates that reality.

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