Have you or any of your friends ever been called a Post Turtle? Being labeled a Post Turtle by your fellow team members or your customers is not a positive thing. At least it is not in the part of Tennessee where I grew up.
We here in Tennessee like stories. Here is the story of the Post Turtle. The old farmer speaks, “Well, yaa know, some people are like a Post Turtle.” Not being familiar with the term, a friend asked him what a ‘post turtle’ was. The old farmer said, “When you’re driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that’s a post turtle.
The old farmer saw the puzzled look on his friend’s face so he continued to explain. You know that turtle didn’t get up there by himself, he doesn’t belong up there, and he doesn’t know what to do while he’s up there, and you just wonder what kind of person put him up there to begin with. Now that’s a Post Turtle”.
In retrospect can you recognize a few Post Turtles? I can. I hope none are in your company or in your department. Post Turtles, as you would expect, are not well thought of by other team members. In addition I have discovered that the person who put the turtle on the fence post in the first place may be the one that has lost the most respect from team members.
Leaders are held accountable by other team members for the job promotions and the positions they fill whether it is intended or not. This could end up being a lose lose situation for both you and your company. The first thing you must do is find out if you have any Post Turtles. All good leaders know the capabilities of new team members based on resumes, references, personal knowledge, etc. before they are hired or promoted. With all that information mistakes can still be made. It is a good idea to go back about every six months and check on all team members you have brought into the group or you have promoted. A leader’s job does not end with the appointment, it just continues.
Leaders sometimes fail to see how putting the wrong person in a position can be a real threat to a leader’s ability to lead. Team members follow those that they respect. It is a good idea to check often on the folks you have hired or promoted for a lot of reasons. One reason is your personal reputation with the team. You never want to be associated with a Post Turtle.