Beyond My Pay Grade!

This is not only for all who are serving in large organizations, particularly government ones. Hands up if you have used that phrase, or a similar one! Right, that should include just about everyone! Hands up if you have ever been a Chief this or a Chief that! Ok, not too may hands going up. Wait a minute…there shouldn’t be any hands going up, what’s going on?

Those of you reading this who are top-flight leaders, meaning you don’t report to anyone except yourself, in a manner of speaking, and who have used this phrase even unconsciously, do stop and reflect. What were you really saying? Is “Beyond My Pay Grade”, BMPG, a phrase for middle management and below only? Or is that ubiquitous menace of a concept to be relegated to the rubbish heap where it belongs?

Atlas weight responsibilityEscalate. Refer the issue upstairs. So, if you’re the Chief, who do you escalate it to? “Beyond My Pay Grade” has sounded like an abomination to me ever since I heard it being used. I’ve witnessed it being an easy escape from responsibility and the judicious, appropriate and relevant exercise of the authority invested in people at their respective levels. It allows middle management to remain where they are because they are “Good Enough Not To Be Noticed As Bad”, GENTBNAB. In fact, in many instances, it even allows senior leadership, the Chiefs, to remain where they are because they use BMPG as a convenient excuse. Blame the Board for all I care!

Stop the rot wherever you are. It is not beyond your pay grade, it never is! It is your responsibility to raise the issue upwards. It is your responsibility to continue gathering information that might help resolve the issue. It is your responsibility to keep checking from time whether your leaders upstairs have found solutions and whether they need any help in doing so.

When you kick it upstairs because it is “Beyond Your Pay Grade”, you become the ultimate loser. Your leaders, your bosses, become so bogged down with the issues you keep escalating and washing your hands from, that they have no time left to do their real work. Their real work is steering the ship, charting out new and exciting destinations, seeking new areas they can increase value and ultimately raising your pay grade.

If you keep saying that it’s “Beyond My Pay Grade”, maybe you should give your pay to the ones you kicked the problem to upstairs. Might be a good lesson in taking on appropriate responsibility.

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