If you want to use this phrase, a subtle change in emphasis can help leaders make the workplace better for everyone.
“Just do your job!” is something I’ve heard shouted by leaders at moments of severe frustration, but that doesn’t make it bad advice. You simply have to break out the fundamental principles contained there. Four words. Three principles. Just. Do. Your job.
Yes, we often have to rely on others in order to do our jobs effectively. We need to coordinate with them. We need resources from them. But inherent to all branches of emergency services is the principle of, “solve the problem.”stop the bitching. Stop the whining. Stop concerning yourself so much with what other people got, or what other people got away with. JUST do your job.
Any effective accomplishment takes some amount of planning and preparation, but, especially during downtime, it’s easy to slide into “analysis paralysis”. Should everything should be fair? Should everyone should get a turn? That would be nice, but for things to actually get done it won’t always happen that way. Somebody needs to just roll up their sleeves and get to work. Just DO your job.
Our agency recruits aggressively, but I’m pretty sure they don’t kidnap anyone in the middle of the night and force them to work in emergency services. Did the people who work here want this job? I’m willing to bet dollars to law enforcement donuts that at some time in the past they were trying to convince someone really hard that they knew exactly what this job entailed and that they were the person who was most ready, willing, and able to do it. Sure, parts of the job and probably changed since when they got hired but doesn’t the very essence of that job remain to adapt and solve problems in a dynamically changing environment? Yes, we work as a team. Yes, there are probably people junior to you on that team. But if a thing needs to be done exhibit some pride and step up to take some personal responsibility. Just do YOUR JOB.
The leaders’ job
As leaders we can become so frustrated that we shout “just do your job” as an order, but before we do so we should stop and think about our own job. Why is someone not taking personal responsibility? Why aren’t they taking action? Why are they distracted? As a leader my job is to remove obstacles, gather resources, and create conditions so that others can do their job. That is my job as a leader even when that job is difficult, and it is difficult every single day. But I need to follow my own advice and just do my job before I can expect anyone else to do theirs.
Before I shout, “Just do your job!” and anyone else I whisper it quietly to myself. If I’m going to point a finger, it can’t be the blame. It has to be the direction in which we’re all going to pull together.