Poor Leadership: ‘That’s not my Job’

By | July 16, 2019

[July 16, 2019] There’s an old joke that circulates in the Public Works Department of most large cities. It goes something like this; If King Kong fell off one of our buildings, our road crews wouldn’t be able to find him. If you ever heard the phrase, “That’s not my job,” you are not alone in discovering that poor leadership is all too common.

I chose the Opossum painted over with the double yellow-line on a roadway to represent my topic today and thus the thumbnail photo. This is not joke. A quick search of the Internet turned up hundreds of photos of animals that were not removed before the road paint crew came along. They just kept on going, painting away, without giving any thought about doing a good job.

In many states of the U.S., the roads are often littered with dead animals in the late Spring and early Fall. Animals are moving about and crossing roadways are frequently killed by passing cars. In one small town near where I lived, the municipal road crew painted over a small deer. They actually had to lift their paint machine to clear the deer but kept right on going. When asked by the local newspaper, they said it was not their job to move dead deer on the road.

Maybe they were just missing some common sense. A better explanation was the lack of leadership on behalf of the local town. There was no practical oversight on the Public Works Department and it made sense that those employed there believed their job was not worthy of notice. Oh, people did notice after the painted deer episode.

Leaders don’t pass by problems with doing something productive. If it’s not the leader’s job then that leader has the responsibility to get the problem to someone what has both the responsibility and authority to take corrective action. Any leader that passing a problem without action has just set a new, much lower standard of approval. Good leaders act. Poor leaders make excuses.

I heard this phrase mentioned several times by a few of the younger staff members at the Boy Scout Camp that I’m currently attending. I politely provide timely advice; how to solve the problem by letting someone else know instead of ignoring the trouble. So far, it seems to be working. Now, back to the hot, humid, buggy weather.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

20 thoughts on “Poor Leadership: ‘That’s not my Job’

  1. Xerxes I

    I hope your scouting adventures this week are going well. I look forward to your analysis, like on the 1st day.

  2. Shawn C. Stolarz

    Gen. Satterfield, you have a knack for getting into subjects that most leaders tend to overlook. This subject ‘not my job’ is just another example of your great leadership work. Keep up the good works and analysis of problem leaders.

    1. The Kid 1945

      Right. Shawn, I suggest Gen. Satterfield branch out to give us more of this by doing at least two articles per day. That way we can get more in less time. Thoughts?

  3. Eva Easterbrook

    I agree that we encourage irresponsible actions by others by giving excuses for failure or simply allowing others to get away with not doing their jobs.

  4. Georgie B.

    In the OLD DAYS, you were rewarded and praised for picking up more responsibilities. Today, we see you as a sucker. Will that ever change? Good question to ask your latest liberal friend who believes no one is responsible for anything. Only politicians who are Democrats are allowed to get a pass for abdicating what they should have been doing.

      1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

        I think we call all agree that Georgie B. is right on target with her comment.

  5. Drew Dill

    Great article on the biggest problem of today’s workers. And, we encourage this type of irresponsibility.

  6. Army Captain

    In the US Army we run into similar situations. Easy to resolve. Everyone is responsible for the mission being completed. All get the same reward or punishment.

    1. Roger Yellowmule

      This is not the way of the new generation of crybabies. You are obviously behind the times, Army Captain. /sarc off

    2. Eric Coda

      I’m wondering what it would take to push our society back on track. After the liberal professors are finally gone, maybe our newest, upcoming generations will be educated the right way; instead of being snowflakes.

      1. Nick Lighthouse

        Who really knows the answer. If you have a problem, fix it. If you don’t have a problem, don’t fix it.

  7. Ed Berkmeister

    You are sooooo right about this. I went to Google and searched. Many pix turned up showing similar subjects covered with paint.

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