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Is your boss a Contender or Pretender?
By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ
Published: 11/17/2014

Kingandpawns There appears to be a misunderstanding within the workplace today. It seems we have people promoted to positions they aren’t either qualified for or have not yet acquired the necessary skill set to perform at that level at a satisfactory level to say the least. Is the reality your boss is a pretender and faking the way they get their work done or is he or she a contender and someone who will bring success to your team or organization. The question has been asked too often to neglect as you need to know how to tell the difference between the two.

First let’s talk about the problematic symptom of our workplace. Dealing with pretenders we will find out often too late they are not up to the challenge to lead, supervise or make good decisions. In some professions this is a critical lapse of good judgment or in many ways, getting people hurt while doing their jobs. Regardless, it’s an unacceptable practice to instill in your workforce or organization.

Pretenders work on aspirations. Aspirations for themselves and not others. They think big but never really make it to the level they dream about. Contenders inspire others but at the same time set a bar for themselves and expect to exceed them rather than settle for less. Pretenders carry with them negative emotions while contenders take it to the limit and beyond.

The sadness to having pretenders is the reality these kind of leaders get you into a bad situation where you don’t want to be. Listening to them can often make matters worse. It may be their ticket to success but nothing having someone fall on their behalf. They often don’t care enough to follow-through with their strategies or thinking and often talk a great game but that’s all it is – talk.

Contenders on the other hand are everything what pretenders wish they were. They make big things happen and rarely talk about it and are often glad to share the success among others. They are self-disciplined and resilient in manner and stamina and know how to reduce stress and anxiety amongst the work force. Contenders can find and identify raw talent and turn it into a positive moment, event or opportunity.

Thus the difference is basic and easy to see. Their abilities can be easily measured if you are paying attention. One can see how they react when the going gets tough and they get it going or fail to do something to get the job done. There is rarely any unpredictability here as these two characters are as different as night and day. Corrections.com author, Carl ToersBijns, (retired), has worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Carl’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."

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