I measured my breathing while I watched. As if stifled by a slow-motion camera, the employee dipped slowly. In one excruciating, drawn-out motion, one–two–three–four–five, she finally got around to dumping the contents of her ladle on my plate. There was nothing to prepare, the barbecue beef I requested was made up and waiting in a warming pan.
It must have taken her three full minutes to lift the plate and set it on the counter in front of her with a sour look on her face. I might have been astonished if I hadn’t witnessed similar behavior so many times before. Sadly, I’ve employed people like this.
Employees who wear a lethargic, I-could-care-less about my work attitude, are the first supervisors send home early, the last to get raises, and the first to get fired. And yet most appear shocked when negative consequences come their way. These people truly believe if they keep their heads down, work at getting out of work, pretend to go along with whatever their employer says, then all will turn out well. But this isn’t what employers are looking for.
Working to get out of work will only move someone out of a job. Employers, customers, and co-workers expect more than a surface pretense of completing duties.
Employers need a blend of active initiative and a teachable attitude. They look for someone willing to move quickly, accurately, and responsibly, so things get done, and yet, to stay within their authority boundaries. They look for those willing to learn, and who will apply what they learn.
Others see to the heart of our motives in how we behave. Even when we try to hide them. Rewards and punishment are a direct result of the choices we make. A slow-mo pattern of behavior puts us on the fast track to negative consequences.
Have you been frustrated at the slow-motion actions of someone else? Why did it bother you?
Proverbs 23:12 (NIV)
Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Productivity Specialist, Certified Team Training Facilitator, Marketing Specialist, national speaker, and author. She lives in Missouri with her husband Ricky.
She’s passionate about business with integrity, healthy relationships, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research.