Let me explain – the hardest working athletes are not the ones making the most money. The most talented ones in any sport are not often described as being “hard working” The person who is putting in 12 hour days, sweating and plodding along? Getting the job done and earning very little reward? Do people get promoted within the organization on work ethic alone? Isn’t usually because they know someone, have a natural knack for something, have more “education”, or were just in the right place at the right time? I’m not saying that hard work goes unnoticed.
Coaches, managers, leaders – they often go out of their way to acknowledge and praise hard-workers. They are held up as examples to the others and given momentary spotlights, but in the end, it’s not the attribute that brings success. I have seen a lot of hard-working people get treated unfairly over my career in all avenues of life. The person that quietly goes about their business and bothers no one is rarely acknowledged. The person who has a knack for doing a lot of things well is “too valuable” to move to higher positions of authority. Hard working people are often not vocal enough to “too their own horn” and get noticed, so they are not noticed (they believe their work speaks for itself). How many people do you know that are the fall guy to get stuff done? If no one else wants to do it, we know the guy or gal we can count on to get ‘er done, right? Am I wrong?
So what value is “working hard”, and why should we work hard, or expect those we lead work hard as well if there isn’t a visible payoff? Well, there’s 2 things here I want to say.
Number 1 – as a leader, if you have people in your organization that work hard – make sure you acknowledge them and take a deep, accurate look at how you treat them. Are you taking advantage of them? More importantly – you, the hard-worker. Why should you work hard? Do you work hard for a reward (pay, promotion, or...