For many employees, flatlining in one's career -- being kept in the same job too long -- can be worse than being fired.
While every situation and industry is different, it's very possible that more confidence, assertiveness, training and prayerfulness -- yes, prayerfulness -- may help people succeed. Here's why I say that.
When employees make mistakes on the job, they and others must spend additional time to fix those errors. People should be moving onto the next task yet instead they're backing up to correct the old one -- which costs the company time and money.
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Even beyond that, the employee who made the mistake may not have opportunities for advancement or promotion if mistakes become a habit. This person may have other valuable qualities, of course, and bring certain key skills to the table -- but repeat errors or a poor attitude that does not turn around after discussions or coaching will hold both that individual and the organization back.
Mistakes cause stress. When people err on the job and no one catches those errors until after the train has left the station, the team can experience chaos. The apologies and negative energy surrounding "the fix" can be draining for all involved, including managers and executives across the company.
While getting fired could actually be a blessing, problem employees at some bigger or mid-sized companies can be slotted as "too bad to promote but not bad enough to let go." And that puts people in a holding pattern. They may have a job -- but they have no respect or trust from colleagues, bosses or even themselves. That's a tough way to sustain a career. To avoid all this, the answer lies in preventing mistakes before they happen.
And that requires prayer.
Proverbs 15-22 says, "Plans fail with lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed" -- which rings so true in the workplace. In many specialties and positions, consulting with co-workers and other experts is critical for making sure work is complete and accurate, while leveraging available resources.
Also, James 1-19 states, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."
In all areas of business, listening effectively is key to understanding the required specifications and visions, integral to generating quality work output, and key to progressing. Further, Proverbs 19:2 states: "It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way." So true.
We all need to have a comprehensive understanding of what we are doing and what the final output should look like -- but never dive into the details until we understand the mission. Unfettered zeal can cause career-limiting mistakes.
When I am asked why I included prayer passages in my new book, "The Industry Accountant's Intelligence Briefing: Helpful Hints from the Trenches," I answer with two words: It works.
It has for me and for subordinates I have mentored. While none of my accountant bosses quoted from the Bible when providing guidance or direction, maybe they should have and here's why. All jobs require attention to detail and reconfiguring as executive and customer feedback is applied -- and this is always best achieved with a mindset of peace and calm.
That happens for me when I pray to God. I ask Him to guide me and relieve me of my pressures and burdens so that I may have a clear head to focus on my work.
The goal for all workers is to produce fine work, succeed in their field, take pride in their accomplishments -- and enjoy the fruits of their labors. And there is no reason today's workplace cannot also be a place where people embrace prayer, lots of prayer, to help them through their days.
Joseph D. Rotman, CPA, is based in Texas and is the author of "The Industry Accountant's Intelligence Briefing."