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Ghosts in the Workplace

Jan 3, 2020 | Find a Job, Recruiting

By Kendra Prospero
CEO, Turning the Corner, LLC

Recently, we had a truly remarkable man reach out to our company because he felt like he was virtually worthless to his employer. He had been very successful in his career, but lately, after numerous management and organizational changes, his work had become less and less impactful, and his manager less and less involved in his success. His exact words were “I feel like I’ve become a ghost at work”.

How does this happen? How does a really talented person begin dying on the vine at their job? It’s a shameful situation that puts both the manager and the employee at fault. Both parties have accepted this outcome, and both parties have a chance to remedy it. If you feel like a ghost or if you know you have people haunting your halls, you need to take action.

Exorcise Your Ghosts

Here’s what needs to happen: the employee has to decide that he/she wants to improve their career at the company, and needs to immediately start advocating for this revival. To start with, they need to identify their unique strengths and list examples of contribution in the pasts. Once the homework is done they need to meet with their manager and start talking with power people who have supported them in the past.

Ideally, the manager also needs to take responsibility for not recognizing and understanding the talent within the organization. Being too busy is a terrible excuse for a manager to use. Managers need to MANAGE their people and that includes understanding how each employee can best contribute to the team. If a manager neglects to see an employee who is only giving their job mediocre attention, this has the potential to cost the company thousands of dollars and have a negative impact on the culture. It creates an environment of laziness and unaccountability.

Work Towards a Solution

In the case of our client, he was once a remarkable sales manager, but had been moved to a marketing role. We laid out a plan to help him get back into sales by reaching out to former “fans” who understood his value and experience in sales. He is spending more time getting in front of power people and reminding them of his skills, successes and natural strengths. It will take time, but the conversations are already starting to get more traction for him to get back to doing what he is wired to do and where he can make the greatest impact.

No one wants to work in a haunted organization. Not only is it scary to be surrounded by ghosts, but it also lowers morale and productivity. The good news is in most cases these pesky spirits can be removed and employees can enjoy new hope and drive. It takes a little dedication, but it’s always worth it.

Do you know a ghost at work? Let us know in comments below.