Is Codependency Hurting the Way You Lead Your Company?
We're searching for top company cultures to be featured on our annual list. Think your company has what it takes? Apply Now »
I have a pet peeve. I have a REAL problem with people who won't do their job. Sure, everyone has a learning curve. We're all learning something new, if we have a company that is growing. But as a CEO and president of a company that has many moving parts, it's not my job to make sure your part, or you, are moving!
When I have to remind people to do what they are hired for and I get this blank stare like they just saw a deep black hole and got lost for 30 seconds, I know we have made a big mistake. (See my last article on how to let people go). But needing to let someone go isn't always the reason there is tension in the workplace. Codependency is.
When I work on your goals more than you do, that means we are in deep waters and we're not coming out alive, anytime soon. Managing my own career, responsibilities, and life is a full-time job. That's why God gave it to me to manage, not you, or vice versa. In my years of working with small-business owners and having the honor to serve the more than 2 million clients who connect with our brand every month, I've seen an epidemic rising and I'm not sure if the CDC can help with this one. It's the terminal disease of codependency.
Related: Why Faith Belongs In Your Workplace
Powerful people deserve to be empowered, encouraged and even taught, but they don't need babysitting. Codependency is not only lethal to a company's growth but it also makes it a detriment to society as a whole.
Leaders, this is for you. Here's the drill: The project you are assigned to lead has a deadline. Each part of the project has a goal. Objectives, deliverables and where to check in have been spelled out clearly. Now it's your turn to let it go. Like a kite, you just put the tail on, see if it will fly.
Oh no, someone is sinking.
Assigned person number three on the team of five is already six days behind schedule when you review everyone's check-in. Worse yet, the team leader not only didn't see they weren't on task, they had been 'hand holding' the person every step of the way through days one through four. Thinking this was 'good team leadership' the team leader was literally spending eight hours a day, four days so far, talking on the phone, building morale, helping people work through their sticking points and here we are, day number six and you, the CEO and president have no clue what the leader is doing and person number three is still late.
Do you smell a rat? It's festering in your organization and its called codependency at a deep level.
The team leader feels accomplished when they can get everyone working without friction and the team feels accomplished when they feel like they are enjoying their job. But the freaking deliverables and objectives are NOT on time and YOU, the CEO and president, are stuck again giving another "Pep Rally" at what they call your "Team Huddle Meeting" and you feel an enormous amount of pressure to just do the project yourself!
When you work on someone else's goals more than they do, this is called codependency and it never works in the workplace. No matter how pretty it looks because no one is fighting or how 'effective' it appears because everyone feels accomplished, if the only way a task can be done is with everyone constantly needing to be reminded and babysat, this isn't helping any of us.
Powerful people need powerful habits and a toxic work environment where only three to four people actually have those habits in their life personally does not make up for the rest of the team who is still dragging through life trying to survive.
Netflix has a policy that if someone is let go, the rest of the effective, on-task, hard-working team should get a pay raise for the amount of the money lost. Yes, there are profits lost when you keep a 'corporate team babysitting program' in place!
So what can we do to prevent codependence from destroying your workplace?
First and foremost, ask yourself if you are showing up in the mirror of this article anywhere. If you do? It's time to end this problem, once and for all.
What if you work for someone who is a micromanaging nutcase and you fear they are the one, at the top, the CEO and president, who has the codependent hook so in place that it's trickling downward destroying the organization? First and foremost, ask yourself if you are delivering what you were hired for and then, be your own public attorney and show yourself the PROOF that you are. If this is in place, decide if where you are working is where you want to spend the rest of your life struggling.
None of us is a victim. We are all powerful people created to work, on task and with excellence. Read that again. WE are not victims. We didn't get into this mess we're in because someone forced us, we don't have a choice and there's nothing we can do. We are powerful, and we were created to live powerfully. Our habits are what are killing us as a race.
It's my belief that the root of codependency in the workplace is not actually codependency itself, but really, what we tolerate in our personal lives and our business merging together. We never change what we tolerate. If you're seeing this habit at home in any capacity, it's time to not only clean up the workspace, but clean up your personal life as well. You know the husband who can't do a thing on time unless his wife harps down his throat 27 times to get it done? Or the wife who can't seem to ever follow through on anything unless her husband reminds her and pushes her at least 19 times? This is not a great family unit. This is codependency, and it's ruining your family. Guess what? It's showing up in the workplace, too.
Our personal lives always mesh into our corporate lives and we can't keep acting like they don't. That's why faith at work will work if it's working at home first. That's why unbelief at work destroys, because it's been killing our personal lives as well. Bad habits infect the workplace that take root in our homes. It's time to get back to the root cause of the common things we struggle with at work.
Good news is this: anyone can change. The journey is worth pursuing. Dying a victim and struggling forever does NOT have to be our end. Start investing into a coaching program, if you are a leader, that can help you end micromanaging and codependency quickly. If you're an employee, do the same. Read really good books on leadership, team players and more. Invest in what is important to you (such as paying your bills on time and seeing your debt disappear) than get really good at what you do at work. But most importantly, get a good attitude and work ethic as well, that is devoid of codependency.
It is my personal belief that this is one of the fruits of faith at work, where we go head to head with the enemy, the things that are destroying our best lives and our best workplace, simultaneously. We have to do the work personally, do the work in the workplace and do the work nationally. This is how we become the powerful, non-codependent people we were created to be!