Leadership Moves: The Jobs No One Else Sees

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“Are you still here?” I asked a friend and colleague. It was an empty building, and the business day officially had already ended 30-40 minutes.
“Yeah,” he sighed. “I have some work to catch-up on. What do you have for me?”

That conversation, like many others that followed it, came to mind as I reflected on the following passage from a “book app” I was reading. I’m reminded about the conversation because it highlights a willingness to get work done, but also a willingness to receive more work.

Here’s the passage that reminded me:

He is willing to do the unpopular jobs, the jobs he might think are beneath him, the jobs that no-one else sees, that are left when everyone else has gone home. That is leadership, whether you are labeled a leader or not. (Source: BibleGateway app)

I wonder what would happen if I asked these questions and did my best to answer them in my new job:

  1. What are the unpopular jobs in your organization?
  2. What are the jobs others think are beneath them?
  3. What are the jobs that need doing that no one wants to do?
  4. How do you seek out new jobs like the ones alluded to in the preceding questions?

Do you think these questions would help me do well? What would these jobs look like in your situation?

I’m reminded of the custodian at my post in a large urban school district…we had a chance encounter when I went to splash water on my face at the end of a long day. I was tired after a day of meetings. He was joyfully cleaning the restroom.

I remember the enthusiasm with which he approached cleaning a toilet, whipping out an ice-scrapper to be sure that he had cleaned the scum from inside the toilet bowl, leaving it sparkling-white. Some might have seen the extra effort needed for that job as beneath them, but the old man–who retired that year–approached that job with an enthusiasm all of us would do well to emulate.

Here is a quote I learned early on in my education career and need to remember again:


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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