(originally published May 23, 2005)

As a manager, are you an initiator, or are you passive? Are you someone who is always trying to figure out if things are at optimum, looking for problems so that you have an opportunity to fix them, or are you someone who comes in, hopes nothing goes wrong, and is thankful at the end of the day that no one brought any problems to your plate?

In this day and age where people are afraid to get involved in the affairs of others, no matter how crucial the situation might be, I believe that most managers are basically allowing time to pass without trying to motivate, inspire, correct, educate, or address the daily issues that every business has.

How many times does upper management come to you with a question that you can’t answer? Why can’t you answer the questions on a more consistent basis? Sure, no one knows every single answer. However, if you’re the manager of a particular department, you’re expected to at least know what’s going on in some fashion?

I used to think that it was a good day if I got to solve a problem that either I, or someone else, had found. We were always looking for something; never rested on our laurels, even when our performance was so high above standard that it was hard to believe. How boring it must be to just show up at work every day and not strive to be better. How comforting it must be to know that you cheated someone out of your best performance once again.

We all have the opportunity to be better; those that try will always be rewarded, even if it’s only in your own soul. Isn’t that enough?