How To Kill “It’s Not My Job”


The dreaded phrase. The one people will whip out of their back pocket like a flag from an NFL referee.

“It’s not my job!”

Most people use it as a resonating battle cry. Instead, it limps along as a failing whine.

As a leader, this phrase becomes nails on a chalkboard. We cringe when it’s uttered. We want it to go away, badly.

So just how do we do that? Here are some ways:

  • Bring out the heart of the matter. When the phrase “INMJ” is mentioned, ask the person why they say that. Have a conversation. Get to the heart of the matter. Maybe it’s perceived favoritism, unclear expectations, or an unpleasant task. Set those matters clear and straight so that your people and yourself are on the same page.
  • Use The Power Of The Why. Remind everyone why they’re in the organization. Promote and expound daily. Let them know that they’re here because they are willing to be part of the mission. Tell them that in order to realize the mission, everyone needs to do whatever it takes to make it happen. By promoting the Why throughout each day, this will get people to understand their role better and put every task into it’s big-picture perspective.
  • Draw a “Line of Death”. Be both straightforward and inspirational. Communicate to everyone that “INMJ” will not be spoken anymore. Let them know how it hampers teamwork from their peers, and prevents them from gaining favor from their colleagues and superiors in promotions, bigger responsibilities, and so on. Have fun with this. “From this day forward ’til death do us part.” Write it on a poster and burn it, bury it. Then start them thinking about why we will do it instead.
  • Set the example. If you’re not going the extra mile, neither will your people. Set the pace. Clean your office. Clean the common areas as you walk through them. Make everything your job, and they’ll make it theirs.

It takes consistency, persistence, and an overarching upbeat attitude to kill “INMJ”. But once you get your team to engage, their adoption will cause those that would utter it to play up to the culture and be a part of the bigger mission.

What other ways have you killed “INMJ” in your organization? we’d love to hear your stories!!


(iage courtesy

About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on June.10.2014, in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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