The Hindre™ is a person or group committed to blunt your growth and development. They take it personally when you are driving and advancing in your schooling, career, and relationships. The Hindre™ takes its name from its ability to hinder your progress and work against your positive performance with negative roadblocks. They may be silent and work in secrecy. They may work in the background or out in the open, undermining you at every turn. The Hindre™ may also be referred to as the Ninja of Negativity.
The Hindre™ may be a family member, alleged friend, stranger, supervisor, or coworker. They are dedicated to suppressing your success and compromising your confidence and competence. The Hindre™ is the employee who sabotages the work of the team. They do not put their own weight on projects and may be responsible for other members leaving the company. They take the fun out of work. The Hindre™ may be the boss who does not give proper feedback and is constantly working against you.
The Hindre™ will befriend you and plant seeds of doubt through words, to shake your confidence. They will say things like, do you really think you can do that? I don’t think that is the right field for you. They may be brazen enough to ridicule by saying such things as you will never amount to anything, you are not good. They may go you by use of force and name-calling, to put you in your place, they prepared and designed for you.
The Hindre™ could be personal. The tendencies may be embedded deep in you. You may not believe deserve success and think you are unworthy. The years of persistent misinformation, ridicule, name-calling, and badgering convinced you that you are less than everyone.
We must work to identify the existence and presence of the Hindre™. We must apply the international symbol to indicate that the Hindre™ is not allowed. Their presence is unwanted and unwarranted. Their jealousy and envy, fueled by competition and insecurity, may explain their resistance and disapproval of your performance. However, it may be more insidious, such as prejudice, bigotry, and hatred.
The Hindre™ may be a negative person, a silent enemy, or a malicious perpetrator. Look in the mirror and search your soul. Are you a Hindre™? Do you know a Hindre™? How will you respond when you identify someone as a Hindre™. Be careful in their presence and align yourself with people who support you and work for your goodness and success. Be kind and caring to all people, work to connect, cooperate, and coordinate positive behavior, for the sake of progress. Do not let the Hindre™ impair your growth, as you develop a positive pursuit of love and excellence.
Gene Autry was a military hero, who became an actor and singer. He sang the Christmas classic, “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.” It is a delightful song, enjoyed by young and old. However, this cheerful song delivers a powerful message about encountering and handling differences. Let us examine Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and its meaningful conversations about diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and accepting others.
The song begins with a reference to the reindeer popularized in Clement Clarke Moore’s, “The night before Christmas”, also known as “A visit from St. Nicholas.” It begins with a roll call of Santa Claus’ reindeer that of course omits the name of Rudolph. As you recall, Rudolph was different from the other reindeer because of the luminescent quality of his nose. His nose was so shiny that it had either reflective qualities or it glowed like a light. This was enough to make him the object of ridicule and ostracism by the other reindeer.
This lack of acceptance is seen when children and adults are confronted with someone who is different from them. Our initial response is to make fun of the person and then isolate them because of their characteristics, traits, heredity, or idiosyncrasies. We may recall when we were young and begged for acceptance and approval. Even to this day, there is something about us that makes us stand out from the crowd. We feel self-conscious and wish that our difference could go away. If possible, we will change our stories and appearance so others will like us. When we are new and different, we carry a tremendous unnecessary burden. We view our “uniqueness as a weakness.“
At work or in school, simply being the new person, the new kid on the block, the person who is unknown, becomes a source of teasing or isolation. We often wondered,” if they would only get to know me, they would see that I’m just like them. I am a good person. “Rudolph was a reindeer, so he surely had a similar appearance, except for his nasal peculiarity. But suppose he was of a different color, from a different region of the country, or had a different ability. We usually ask the different parties to fit in, when the real focus should be on including and accepting them into the group.
Bullying is also a response shown toward those who are different. The song does not indicate that Rudolph was bullied, but we can only assume that preventing him from “playing in any reindeer games” was not accomplished in the most delicate manner.
The song does not tell us what Santa Claus was doing during the hazing or if he even knew about it. But, as a good leader, he engineered a very strategic response. He knew the talent and value of all his reindeer. He evaluated the weather system for his next journey and realized he was going to encounter many blizzards. He knew the problem could be solved by the reindeer, but he needed to show his acceptance of Rudolph the talented reindeer. The leader has vision and can often see what others cannot.
Santa Claus knew the skills and abilities of each reindeer. He knew that the appropriate circumstance would allow for each skill to be revealed. He knew Rudolph had a special gift and could provide navigation assistance on those wintry nights when delivery of toys to children around the world, would be difficult. Snowstorms would provide opportunities where others, including the reindeer, could benefit from the gift of Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer.
We can give Santa credit for waiting for the appropriate time to unveil his strategy. He could have given the reindeer the opportunity to work it out amongst themselves, as so many people do in similar situations. We would say such things as,” kids are just being kids, learning to navigate tricky situations will only make the recipient stronger and teach them valuable life skills. We say that which does not kill them will make them stronger, to paraphrase Friedrich Nietzsche the philosopher. The reindeer performed similar initiation rites to others in the group that had other distinctions from their peers. They saw their treatment of Rudolph as being harmless and natural.
The defining moment came,” one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say: Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” Many managers, leaders, and parents look for the opportune moment to use the skills of their people; the right moment to show the world and the individual their true value. However, it would be prudent to consistently look for ways to utilize the talents of their people. They should know the coordinates of their subordinates, so they can meet them where they are.
We can only assume that in the fictitious conversation, Santa’s encouraged Rudolph and told him about the value of his difference. He made him feel that he was something special and should never feel that he was not important and did not have a place. I’m sure he made him feel like an essential member of the team. He validated his worth by asking him to lead the team by moving up to the front of the line.
You remember the successful conclusion to the song. “Then all the reindeer loved him, as they shouted out with glee, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, you’ll go down in history!” We know that in life, responses to differences may not always lead to a happy ending. Sometimes the individuals have lingering insecurity, damage to their self-esteem, and underlying resentment from the initial exclusion. But, when the difference that is ridiculed or denied is used for the benefit of the group, the organization, institution, family, or community becomes more vital. Everyone learns a valuable lesson about diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and acceptance. We are hopeful that when the person is accepted, they don’t become complicit and act in the same manner when they encounter other people who are different.
Suppose we remember the Rudolph days of our lives and commit ourselves to preventing them from happening to others. In that case, we will maximize their future contributions to our teams, families, organizations, and communities. We will perform a noble act when leading by example with the lessons learned from Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.
When we think of bliss, we think of joy and happiness. Bliss is a feeling, a positive state of mind; a pinnacle of emotion. Bliss may be invigorating and satisfying. In this article, we will use bliss, as an acronym. B.L.I.S.S. will evoke a sense of power and boldness when it is linked to leadership.
Bold Leadership Is Street Smart.
Bold Leadership Is Servant Strong.
Bold Leadership Instills Survival Skills
Bold Leadership Is Situation Specific
Bold Leadership is Street Smart. It cultivates workplace wisdom and marketplace moxie. Bold Leadership appreciates diversity, equity, and inclusion and treats people with dignity and respect. Respect is the currency that influences the cooperation and coordination necessary to avoid danger and anticipate business downturns.
The Oxford Language Dictionary defines street smarts as “the experience and knowledge necessary to deal with the potential difficulties of life in an urban environment.” The practical application of this is being savvy enough to make the tough decision. A person demonstrating street smarts knows how to operate calmly under tough circumstances. They know how to conduct themselves in a crisis. They may have the expertise and instincts to avoid a crisis. Street smart individuals can navigate a hostile environment.
A person who is street smart has developed a heightened sense of awareness of their environment. They know diverse people and their tendencies. They recognize cues and clues and respond in the appropriate manner through their words, body language, and actions. They are confident, but not too confident and move as if they belong in the area. They do not display an air of timidity. Their strength is just enough, not to seem confrontational. They know what to say and what not to say, where to go and where not to go; they flow as if they belong.
Bold Leadership is Street Smart. Certain aspects of street smarts can be taught and presented in a framework to help people increase their awareness. Through the powers of observation and simulations, we instruct our customer-facing employees to be friendly, and professional and to understand their surroundings. They dressed appropriately and did not bring too much attention to themselves. They cultivated relationships. People befriended them and had their backs. They would not take unnecessary risks and be constantly following Principle Number 3 from my book Unlock Your Leadership Greatness. Principle Number 3 is becoming A Student of the Game, which means continuously learning information about their field and related areas, which includes learning about diverse clients and various circumstances.
Bold Leadership is street smart when it hires and develops toughness, resilience, and street credibility. It knows how to relate to people and pays its due to learn and understand people, backgrounds, and motivations.
Bold Leadership Is Servant Strong; for it realizes its purpose is to serve others. Bold Leaders see employees holistically. Each person is an individual. I feel that “The leader must know the coordinates of each subordinate, so they can meet them where they are.” They want employees to bring their entire selves to work, engaged and participating fully. Being servant strong means empathy is an important element for engagement.
Servant Leadership is a term popularized by Robert K Greenleaf in his essay, The Servant as Leader. This concept focuses on the individual. The leader concentrates on meeting the needs of their followers. The leader’s mindset is, that if we serve or take care of the people, the people will take care of the business. Traditional leadership models are leader-focused. They were hierarchical and everyone in the organization worked for the people on top. In servant leadership, the leader works for everyone. This causes a different mindset and a shift in behavior. The Bold Leader asks questions, such as What can I do for you? Is there anything else that you need? And What else is required for you to be successful?
Bold Leadership Instills Survival Skills; for it is developmental by nature. There are sets of skills and abilities that must be mastered if someone is to be successful. There are minimum standards that must be learned and graduate-level on-the-job training experiences that ensure long-term success.
Bold Leadership Instills Survival Skills; by ensuring that people are fundamentally sound and by setting high standards. Feedback is provided routinely to chart their progress. By setting high expectations, people develop into confident, courageous, and competent performers.
The survival skills make them feel safe and place them in a protective frame of mind. Unlock the Secrets of Ozone Leadership® is a book utilizing the protective attribute of the ozone layer to strengthen survival skills. Bold Leadership ensures safety is a key component of their lives.
Bold Leadership Is Situation Specific; refers to its ability to shift to a higher gear when more is expected. Regardless of the situation, bold leadership can adjust to a crisis and deliver what is required for their people to develop. Paul Hershey and Ken Blanchard developed and described the concept of Situational Leadership. The idea was to work smarter and not harder and to provide leadership based on the employee’s development level. Less development required more direction; more development required less direction. There was a constant delivery of support and direction based on the changing development level of the individual. Work smarter and not harder. I would add the phrase, “because you don’t want to be a martyr.
It is imperative to add B.L.I.S.S. to our leadership. This will enable us to become street smart, strong servants, instilled with survival skills, and leadership that is specific to the situation. Inherent in any leadership philosophy and methodology is a list of do’s and don’ts that we pass along to others for safety, protection, productivity, and growth. When we obtain Leadership B.L.I.S.S.™, we must train it and envelop and develop it as a competency. Leadership B.L.I.S.S.™ (Bold Leadership Is Street Smart) is a critical leadership state with many success factors to benefit our constituents.
Improve relationships, recruiting, culture, retention, and productivity
Be More Interesting (BMI)
Acronyms are nifty little devices that help us memorize concepts. Acronyms are excellent to create a mantra for repetition.
People look detached and disengaged in the presence of someone whom they feel is bland and uninteresting. They may be in a relationship with someone who is dull and appeared to be sucking the life out of them. The spark is gone, and an infusion of excitement is necessary.
My college roommate told a story of asking a question of a professor who was not very dynamic. At the end of an exceptionally long, drawn-out, boring explanation, the instructor turned around to find my roommate sound asleep and snoring. The class found this to be hysterical. I found it historical, standing the test of time.
Picture this; the first date through a dating app, two people sitting at a table and staring away from each other. They are floundering in meaningless conversation, losing interest by the minute. The situation would be much better if the parties were interesting and increases the likelihood of being interested.
The workplace may need revision to increase engagement and participation. Additionally, Recruiters can recall interviews where candidates answered questions with a lackluster demeanor. They were not able to sell themselves in a persuasive manner. They may have been suitable for hire, but their personality blocked their chances.
We remember speakers and teachers who were not able to hold our attention, which caused our minds to wander. We could save ourselves the trouble, and create livelier discussions if we could make ourselves and others more interesting. Therefore, we need people to BMI. I am not speaking about “body mass index” or the Broadcast Music Corporation; I mean to Be More Interesting.
Relationships would be more fun, interactive, exciting, and engaging if people were more interesting. Personal development can lead to a life that is more fulfilling and enjoyable. Time is well spent and used wisely when we interact with people who have great content in their conversations. Imagine having a conversation with someone who consistently provided content that is intriguing, and humorous with a substantial amount of depth and clarity. I’m not necessarily saying that they are more intellectual, but they have depth and breadth of knowledge. Interesting could be cultivated by the following methods:
Read more, extensively traveled and educational exposure and life experiences.
A well-developed “HIT List” – refers to Hobbies Interests & Talents
Emotional intelligence and conversation skills emanating from self-awareness and people skills
A sense of humor that is not condescending, but has a hint of self-deprecation
A curious thirst for knowledge, as they continuously learn new things
Optimistic in their worldview and a positive approach to life and people
Empathetic and humble, while taking an interest in others
Work would be more enjoyable if it were more interesting. It would be a place we would look forward to going to each day. If the work and the people in it were more interesting, productivity and culture would be amazing, especially if the interesting people were allowed to fully express themselves. Gallup’s research has linked engagement to having a best friend work. They also said that people do not leave companies but need managers. Imagine a company where managers had the requisite skills of being more interesting and more interested in the people. We could revolutionize the workplace.
Personally, we should do a self-evaluation to determine how interesting are we to other people. We could ask that question of our nearest and dearest friends and associates. But we can also ask them what could we do to increase our BMI. Take notes and try to put their suggestions into practice. Also, we could ask employees about the interesting elements in the workplace, i.e., leadership, work content, workflow, and coworkers.
Interest should not necessarily be equated to popularity and an extroverted personality. We are speaking of depth and our ability to tie your exposures, experiences, and expertise in a manner that others may find compelling.
You could also add adjectives to describe interesting. They may be;
Authentic, transparent, empathetic, humorous, caring, trustworthy, safe, creative, adventurous, supportive, goal-oriented, with a zest for life
Willing to help others succeed, generous and well-rounded
Loyal and less likely to leave their jobs, thus enhancing retention
When we are more interesting, our relationships flourish and our connections at work can be more vital, and productive. Being more interesting would enable us to be more creative, with less stress, and retain more information. If we adopted the mindset of BMI, we could transform ourselves, the workplace, and the people we connect with daily.
Integrity is highly regarded in our daily affairs, yet we don’t emphasize it as often as we should. We grew up thinking about our conscience and how it governs our actions. I sense the need to focus on universal values and principles to teach and apply. I am reissuing, with a few modifications, my most popular blog post, The 4th Monkey. I am giving it a subtitle of “May the 4th be with you. The universal application of these age-old concepts is a tremendous value that should guide our behavior and interactions.
We grew up with the story of the three monkeys. I imagine we share the same interpretation of what they represent. We were exposed to pictures or statues. One monkey had his hands over his eyes, the second monkey with hands over his ears and the third monkey’s hands were over his mouth. They were See No evil (Mizaru), Hear No Evil (Kikazura), and Speak No Evil (Iwazura). There were actions and behaviors demanded of us based on the three monkeys, but nothing was said about the fourth monkey. The fourth monkey is Do No Evil (Shizaru).
The stories of the four monkeys were popular in Japan in the 17th century. Their origin is between 2 and 4 BC in China. The Storyologer website (www.storyologer.com) has this account of Mahatma Gandhi who carried around a small statue of the three monkeys. “Gandhi had a statue of three monkeys in three different postures. One was shutting his mouth with his hands; the other was shutting his ears similarly and the third one had put his hands over his eyes. A visitor to his house became curious and questioned Gandhi about the various postures of the monkeys. Gandhi politely replied, “The one shutting his mouth tells us that we should not speak ill of anybody. The one shutting his ears tells us that we should not hear the ill of anybody. And the one shutting his eyes tells us that we should not see the ills of anybody. If we do so, we will have all goodness and nothing but goodness.”
Travelers will often find local markets with carved depictions or artwork featuring the three monkeys. My wife was able to purchase an angelic model of the same concept. There are three angels; one was covering her eyes; one was covering her ears and the other was covering her mouth. However, the fourth monkey was not shown. The 4th monkey, when pictured, is usually shown folding his arms (the body language of being closed) or covering his crotch to signify inactivity.
The different interpretations of the four monkeys are fascinating. In the Buddhist tradition, it meant don’t spend your time preoccupied with evil thoughts. In the West, it relates to not facing up to our moral responsibility, for example turning a blind eye. But in my household, the monkeys were presented to us as a model of proper behavior. Our parents wanted us to identify with the images, to supplement our moral code.
See no evil (Mizaru)
We were told to pay attention to people and location(s). The idea was that if we were in the right location, we would minimize seeing trouble develop before our eyes. This was applicable in school and at work. We were instructed against being at the wrong place at the wrong time or the wrong place right. We were also told not to look for bad things in people or in certain situations. There are people who see bad things when they don’t exist, which could explain the manifestations of bias, stereotypes, and profiling. We were not taught to be naïve but to be careful and respectful.
Hear no evil (Kikazaru)
We were told to shield ourselves from bad language and bad intentions. We should stay away from people who spoke ill of others and gossiped. If we were not in the wrong place we could minimize hearing things that we should not hear. We were also instructed not to listen to foul or vulgar language. If we heard people’s language, especially regarding someone’s evil intentions, we could use the evil information to do good or to help others, that would be permissible.
Speak no evil (Iwazura)
Speak no evil was used to discourage gossiping or speaking ill will about someone. We were told to watch our language and to speak kind words. “If you can’t say anything good about someone, don’t say anything” was a part of this same philosophy. Adults told us that spreading bad news or malicious information could come back to haunt us. We should also, apply this same advice to the workplace.
There is a misconception about the concept. This misconception has led people to adopt a code of silence in the workplace and in politics when a person is not pulling their own weight or has committed offenses. We would rather silently complain or resign, before talking about an employee who was not working. We would not want to be labeled a snitch or a stool pigeon. In the streets, people would say, “snitches get stitches.” To speak evil of someone means telling a lie, bearing false witness, or defaming their reputation. However, it is our responsibility to find a way to report injustice, illegal behavior, and practices that undermine people and the organization. Our intention should be to speak the truth in love without malice or premeditated negative objectives.
One way to break the code of silence is by offering incentives to whistleblowers. These individuals are people who step forward and report unlawful activities in an organization. They are paid a 10% bounty if the measure goes to court and fines are levied against the lawbreakers. In neighborhoods where people know the perpetrators of violence, but fail to come forward, there are no such incentives. Residents may be afraid of retribution, as the rationale for their silence. We must also realize that justice requires telling the truth and this should not be regarded as speaking evil of someone.
Do no evil (Shizaru)
The fourth monkey’s actions are truly related to the others. The workplace and politics are common places for the four monkeys to be used as an operating system. Employee bullying and intimidation, sexual-harassment claims, the presence of racial discrimination, unconscious bias, and sexually charged language and actions exists in many organizations. Where improprieties and liberties are taken with people’s rights in the form of disrespectful words and actions, there are laws in place to prevent and punish these actions. Employees, who adopt a see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil mindset are not helping to develop a positive company culture or a respectful workplace
Do no evil is a perfect monkey to enforce the values of character and integrity. He reminds us of proper behavior and etiquette. Our choices have consequences and the more we can emphasize a positive corporate culture and a respectful workplace the more effective our organizations will become. There are conduct and behavior norms that must be identified, emphasized, and enforced vigorously. Character will minimize stress in the workplace and reduce the number of lawsuits and discipline related to improper behavior.
The Do No Evil mindset would influence our participation in the political process. Our dialogue in conversations around those who are different from us or have different opinions would be positively affected. If we operated each day thinking in terms of Do No Evil, we would be more empathetic in understanding of each other. We would put ourselves in the shoes of our neighbors and seek to understand their point of, listen to their words, and lay the foundation for greater chemistry instead of conflict.
How can we create an environment in our workplaces, families, and communities, where people are held accountable for their own unlawful actions and the private citizens who come forward can feel safe and protected? If The 4th Monkey was modeled, we would have less of a cause to talk about Mizaru (see no evil) and Kikazuru (hear no evil).
Do no evil and speak no evil should be magnified and connected to many of our guiding principles of behavior. The Golden Rule and its equivalent in many cultures advise us to treat people the way we want to be treated. The Platinum Rule asks us to treat people the way they want to be treated. The 10 Commandments implore us not to do a series of acts that could be seen as evil, such as murder, stealing, etc. you are instructed to love your neighbor as yourself. If we began from a position of love, it is easier to think in terms of speak and do no evil.
We must clearly outline expectations of behavior and the judgment related to them to improve the climate in our organizations, homes, and places where people meet. The correct action is essential to achieving healthy results in our relationships.
The imagery and practices espoused by The 4th Monkey hold the key to making this possible. I am hopeful that by emphasizing the fourth monkey, we can improve our behaviors, connections, interactions, and relationships with everyone.
Pandemic reflections about scary supervisors and managerial monsters in haunted workplaces were a dreadful way to spend time. The Covid 19 pandemic has shone the spotlight on jobs, managers, and workplaces, as we reassess our values and careers. Many people decided not to return to their previous workplaces. This is evident by record resignations.
There are many reasons for the work shortage. The Gallup survey told us that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers. However, the workplaces may not be an enticing place to return to. Haunted workplaces and managerial monsters may both be a problem. However, we will concentrate on the managers in this article.
The traits of these individuals influence their leadership practices. They resort to fiendish tactics or insensitive methods to get results. Where there is a monster, there is fear. Where there is fear, there must be an antidote or a strategy to eventually relieve people from the threat of the monster and the power it has over them in the workplace.
There were six favorite monsters or categories that dominated the movies in my childhood; Wolfman, Dracula, the Mummy, Frankenstein, and the Bride of Frankenstein, and various reptiles or insects mutated by their exposure to radiation. For this segment we will concentrate on the top five; Wolfman, Dracula, Frankenstein, the Bride of Frankenstein, and The Mummy.
My favorite character was the Wolfman. He was a frustrated man who was bitten by a werewolf and had to spend the rest of his life howling at the full moon. He wanted to be different, but Lawrence Talbot was overpowered by the curse. The Wolfman manager is driven by the curse of ambition or trapped in the expectations of the culture. Have you seen the Wolfman Manager in your organization? They were nice but tormented by their role. They are subject to the curse of what represents success in the organization. They are mimicking a role for survival.
Secondly, there was Dracula, the vampire. He was charismatic, smooth-talking, and mesmerizing. He spoke with a distinctive accent. People liked his charm, appearance, and professional demeanor. But Dracula was still a bloodsucker planning to render his victims hopeless and under his control. Dracula lacked empathy and emotional intelligence. His intent was to drain others until they were no longer of use to him. You may have seen a vampire walking around your company with that same arrogant, cold, uncaring look. The look that says they are interested in you for what you can do for them. The Vampire Managers walk around feeling as if they would be there forever and no one would discover their secrets. You may wonder if somewhere, there is a coffin containing their native soil, buried in an undisclosed office.
Thirdly, Frankenstein was a collection of body parts, sewn together to create a living breathing inhuman being. Frankenstein’s monster in our story may be our own creation. We have given them unlimited power over us. We let them get away with behavior and practices that are against the company policy.
The Frankenstein Manager appears in organizations as the protégé of their mentor or sponsor. Eventually, the protégé will turn on its creator, causing destruction in its wake.
Fourthly, the Bride of Frankenstein was an interesting monster because she was a woman with top billing. Most marquee monsters were male. This female monster was known for her ability to be dangerously independent and competitive. Her aggressive personality proved she was just as frightening as the men. Additionally, you can find a female personality that applies to each of the monsters listed.
Lastly, the Mummy was cursed to guard the tomb or temple of his beloved. He was slow of foot but was relentless and powerful. This is a creature driven by an overpowering love and allegiance for the object of their affection, which is power. This person within your organization has an undying love for the status quo and the good old days. They would destroy anyone who tried to harm or change it. They will blindly institute unethical policies and cover them up, especially if an investigation is pending or inevitable. This individual will persistently pursue anyone who has anything negative to say about the company or anyone they personally admire within the organization. They will practice a technique known as delayed retaliation, a slow-moving process, to seek revenge against their enemies.
Each generation has its own monsters; whether they are zombies, Aliens, the Predator, Jason of Friday the 13th, or Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street. These Monsters have tendencies that can describe leaders in organizations around the world.
As early as I can remember, I had a craving for attention; a sweet tooth for popularity. Even when I was silent, I would look at people and want them to know me and notice me. I wanted attention, acceptance, and approval. They were my straight A’s. I wanted to play to a crowd or a small group. This Crowd Pleaser Syndrome™ (CPS) was my affliction, which fed my ego and drove me to success and notoriety. However, it also exposed insecurities and vulnerabilities.
I discovered that I was not alone, there were others like me. We needed the mentors and people who understood what we were going through. We did not have support groups to help us understand and cope with this beautiful character trait. Additionally, there were public and private assaults against our reputations for a variety of reasons.
An early manifestation of the CPS was an instance in grammar school, where I misbehaved and angered my teacher. This was during the era when teachers and corporal punishment were synonymous. The teacher called me to the front of the room for a spanking. I had the attention of everyone in the classroom. She asked me to bend over and face the class. She gave me a swift smack on my backside and sent me back to my seat. She was satisfied knowing she had dispensed justice and I felt great, knowing I gained the recognition I needed.
The Crowd Pleaser Syndrome™ is present and prevalent. It shows up at work, as individuals please their peers and supervisors. There is a tendency to deliver good news to the boss in the form of withholding negative information or results. People do not fully disclose information to analysts and the public because of the negative stock implications. Employees may be too aggressive and take unnecessary risks to look good personally. The Crowd Pleaser Syndrome™ may infuse us with the desire to win at all costs.
Crowd pleasers realize at an early age, their ability to entertain others. They may have engaging personalities and athletic and the musical prowess. Here are more Crowd Pleaser Syndrome™ characteristics.
Crowd Pleaser Syndrome™
Confident risk takers
Highly active in social and professional gatherings (parties and meetings)
Work hard to stand out from the crowd
Seek acceptance on Maslow’s Hierarchy Needs (belonging)
Thrive on competitive activities
Develop attention-getting behaviors, strategies, and tactics
Workaholism and lacking balance by focusing only on the area giving them stimulation
Unethical conduct may suppress the competition and put others at risk
Failure to share the limelight, especially in developing others, and giving credit on group assignments
People tried to sabotage their careers
They meet the needs of others and deny themselves
Put others first to their personal detriment
Popularity is a stimulant which can have positive and negative effects. The Crowd Pleaser Syndrome™, when managed properly, can have a profound effect on performance, relationships, group culture, and the development of individual strengths. CPS individuals can entertain, educate, enrich, and inspire us to achieve the greatness inherent in each of us to make this a better world.
I began speaking about the concept of MSU in 1986 when training sales representatives as a Regional Operations Manager. A few representatives, when faced with a difficult question, tried to bluff their way through their answers to tough questions. Their responses contained misinformation and outright lies. A few of them demonstrated unbelievable creativity under pressure to make up fantastic stories but distorted the facts. I was rather angry because we took the truth very seriously. We boasted to have one of the best trained sales forces in the industry. You had to achieve 90% to pass our product examinations. We stated the company policy around misinformation. Their credibility and the company’s reputation was on the line, therefore MSU was forbidden. We would not tolerate MSU (Making Shit Up). I apologized for the language, but it was a profoundly serious matter. Additionally, we told them that it made them look stupid because the doctors probably forgot more about medicine then they would ever know.
I must admit that some of the responses were rather creative. We applauded creativity but not in the dissemination of product information and following company policies and procedures.
MSU was such a catchy concept that we included it in our regular training vocabulary. We would openly talk about Making Stuff Up and the dangers of resorting to that practice in answering physician questions. MSU had value as it related to creativity and other areas. When I introduced the concept of MSU I would state that it did not stand just for Michigan State University.
Years later we were training physicians on presentation skills. I decided to drop in on one of the sessions. I noticed that on one slide were the letters MSU. This piqued my curiosity and I sat for the session. The presenter opened the session by saying he wanted to talk to them about MSU and it did not just stand for Michigan State University. It stood for Making Stuff Up. I was impressed but, I sat there speechless. I did not recall reading about MSU before that fateful day in 1986 in our sales training seminar.
15 years later I was in my office as an Area Sales Director. One of our trainers (Field Development Leaders) gave me a book. The book was titled MSU (Making Something Up). And 10 years later in Zambia, South Africa, one of our pastors conducted a workshop on MSU, Making Stuff Up; obviously, it was a well-established concept.
MSU is therefore a viable practice. It is a catalyst for creativity and a warning. We must use it wisely because authenticity and transparency are required to enhance your credibility. As a leader, is important to be aware of MSU and how adopting this mindset can be used to make decisions, answer questions, solve problems and enrich our world through creative thinking and innovation.
Resilience is a way of describing your bounce back ability (BCA). A trait that is wired into our mental framework to give us the tenacity to govern our behavior. It is a portrayal of our stamina and stability and the survival instinct within us. We are formed, fortified and framed with the mindset to resist tough times. We are not saying that we are challenge proof, but challenging resistant, enabling us to bounce in the presence of hard times and hard surfaces.
Let me tell you another Starfish Story. This is different from the traditional starfish story. This story takes place in the ocean. Our hero or heroine is an injured starfish, that is wounded in the ocean. The injury either by accident or sustained damage from the encounter with a predator or a vessel in the water.
During this mishap the starfish was badly damaged and lost one of its points. The starfish has five arms, as we know from the pictures we’ve seen or the animals in an aquarium. However, they may have any number ranging from five arms, to over 50, but I digress. You may have been lucky enough to see these fascinating creatures, sometimes referred to as sea stars, and the they are not really fish.
Our starfish suffers what would be considered a devastating injury to most animals. Imagine this wounded animal moving around in the water eligible to die from the mutilation. However, the starfish has a quality that allows it to rejuvenate or regrow its arms. It is as if the starfish’s body, metabolism or inner programming remembers its original structure and works to replace it. This fascinating attribute allows it to live for 35 years.
Humans do not yet have this ability to physically rejuvenate, however mentally we are resilient. We may face a devastating appointment which takes away our drive and self-esteem. We may make a mistake which appears to be career ending. We may have our reputation tarnished to the extent we feel we may never recover. But like the starfish, we can rejuvenate, regenerate, replenish and reestablish ourselves with proper a mindset.
We can re-institute a positive, reassuring and confident state of mind. When we were infants and toddlers, there were qualities we had, such as curiosity, adventure, stamina, persistence and endurance. We could focus on something with relentless intensity and if we fell trying to get it, we had the resilience, the bounce back ability, after a moment of pouting to get back on our feet and resume our pursuit of the goal.
Later in life, many of us periodically, have these traits badly damaged and removed from our repertoire or body of skills. We may go through life psychologically impaired when we have the inmate ability to do something about it. We need to rejuvenate and regenerate the mental demonstration of renewed strength and resilience. We need to re-grow these former strengths in order to sustain ourselves and renew our level of effectiveness.
Think back to a time when you were whole and constructed for success and survival. Remember how it felt to be fearless and confident. Remember the other starfish story and recapture what was lost or taken from you, so that you can replenish yourself and be structured to become your best. Remember the words of the philanthropist W. Clement Stone who was the proponent of PMA (positive mental attitude). He said that what the mind could conceive the and believe, it could achieve.
Think of the starfish and reach down within yourself to repair the damage and regain whatever you lost, the world is counting on you and your leadership.
There are countless archaeological discoveries that add to our knowledge of earlier civilizations, cultures and beliefs. You heard the stories of individuals stumbling upon a discovery, which greatly increased our knowledge. There may be scrolls of information in the earth that enlighten our paths.
There are scrolls of knowledge within you that validate your greatness. These texts confirm the greatness within you. The question is, how will you search through the caves, caverns and catacombs of memories and earlier instruction, to recover and discover knowledge and wisdom to achieve your grander purpose.
There are messages on authenticity that I gleaned from my excavations. They will ultimately be published in a future work entitled Scrolls of Greatness.
An Authentic Life
“Is your life a quotation or a paraphrase of the life of another or is it the original authentic paragraph God has written for you to include in His magnificent manuscript?”
“Most of your knowledge is based on faith. You were exposed to information packaged and provided to you by strangers and people you know. You are placing a lot of faith and trust in the character, motives and authenticity of others, which is the way it should be, because you cannot verify everything.”
Authentic, Non-manipulative Love
People should know that you genuinely love them; authenticity without manipulation. You want them to be happy, expecting nothing in return, no strings attached. I told a group of students that I drove an hour and a half to speak to them and I was not being paid for it. I wanted them to know that there are people who love them and expect nothing in return, but their excellence. We must learn to give back and I was compelled to do this, because it was done for me. “A young man spoke,” I wouldn’t do it, if I was not getting paid for it.” I responded, “If you thought as highly of you, as I think of you, you would do it, because I know you are worth it.”
“Forgiveness should not dependent on receiving an apology or the knowledge of an impending apology. It may not be automatic. It may be difficult. But it should be authentic when experienced and expressed.”
“Many times, your words should serve as an observation and not a critique. However, there will be times when the order should be reversed. Authenticity improves the power of your communication.”
Share the Journey
“My message seems more powerful when I profile my pain. When I accept the blame,
I seem human. When I discuss my shame, I am vulnerable and real. People relate and identify with me when they can connect and feel that I am genuine, with good intentions.
Sometimes we do our journey a disservice when people only see the finished product and not the rough parts of our development. A glimpse into the construction, deconstruction, destruction and production processes, will heighten their awareness and appreciation of our struggles and what it takes to be successful. We will connect. The authenticity of raw, without disclaimers, and revealing our flaws, will open people to our stories and increase our chances to inspire growth.
The world wants to know how we made our names, the obstacles faced and how we overcame. Otherwise, people will surmise, we obtained the prize and never made mistakes, always received the breaks, were never afraid, that we possess a passing grade, but it was easy, and we always had it made.”