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‘Stop being mediocre; start being excellent’

Lapu-Lapu City, Philippines – A personality attribute, better known in psychology as empathy, can now be hardly observed in our daily routines in the homes or at work. Ostensibly, this must be because of our lack of emotional investments with our parents, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces or in-laws, or with our bosses or colleagues.

We have slowly turned into beings seemingly bereft of the “flair to feel for others.” We often fail to understand why others say and do what they should, so we often feel disappointed with them or even get slighted by them. We often think others do not like what we say and do and why we say and do it, so we often prefer not to share our ideas and opinions with them.

With this behavior we cannot create a lasting, healthy relationship. This leads to a relational atmosphere often punctuated with misunderstanding and miscommunication, which originally results from a lack of empathy, trust and confidence. If we pessimistically keep on keeping negative assessment on – or erroneous interpretation of – what management does for our company, then we will, I am sure, be at a loss in the end. We shan’t grow big. We shall remain where we are.

Can we, conversely, expect positive changes in our company, where subjectivists (those with a way of thinking different from the expected) and reactionaries (those who vehemently react to whatever changes management has instituted) thrive like mushrooms in the backyard? No, we can’t.

These people are apathetic, mistrusting, and self-absorbed, and can be described in one adjective as MEDIOCRE.

Are you this type of people?

In his book, “Called to Excel,” Rex Resurreccion aptly defines “mediocrity as an opposite of excellence”. It is an attitude behind comments we hear such as, “Pwede na iyan! Okey na iyan! Hayaan mo na iyan! (“That will do! That’s already OK! They won’t notice the defect! Leave it like that! Come on, let it pass!”)

According to him, this attitude is prevalent in many companies. Counterproductive, this works against personal and professional excellence.

Mediocre people have many complaints. Believing the company is responsible for maintaining excellence among its workers, they keep on blaming management for many problems in the company. While this may be true, the fact remains – the effort of the company to promote excellence among its workers will turn out a mirage if it continues to employ mediocre people. They do not do more than (what is) expected. They are content with what they have achieved.

“Compared to mediocre people, excellent people do not complain. They manage themselves. They will not allow environment to manage them. If the environment is anti-excellence, they will attempt to improve it. They are movers. They are proactive, not reactive,” he said.

Resureccion stressed: “When talks are rife that work environment is unsatisfactory because of top management, who does not know how to listen to employees’ gripes, these must not be true. Only mediocre people made it so. Startlingly, the very mediocre people who made the environment unsatisfactory are the most vocal about the unhappiness over it. Yet, they don’t find ways to improve their predicament. They just complain. They expect others to improve their situation.”

Mediocre employees are attention-grabbers. They defy the status quo for the sake of defiance, not for the sake of instituting “genuine changes” in the organization. They suggest something but begin to disobey management if their suggestions are not taken into account. Companies do not need them.

“There is always a best way to do a best job,” so says Fayol, a management guru. “It is only by getting others’ opinions (suggestions) can we find a best way to do a best job,” he adds. Mediocre people understand this.

(The) company’s growth will be hampered – if we again fail to know that management’s main thrust is for us all to become excellent in our respective fields. Mediocre people should have no place in the company. Now, their motto should be: “Stop being mediocre; start being excellent.”

(I wrote this article for our employees when I was HR head of a certain company in the Philippines. I posted this, hoping many will learn from this.)

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About Danilo Tao-tuan Naraja

I am an expatriate based in Jubail, Saudi Arabia and work in the Admin and HR Division of an oil and gas company. I am an HR practitioner for more than a decade. I used to work for a Cebu-based local newspaper. I love to write human interest stories and started writing when I was still in high school.

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