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.
Alfred Hitchcock, the noted film director, was known for making a cameo appearances in his movies. A game among many moviegoers was to watch the films and locate the scenes where Mr. Hitchcock made his guest appearance. Celebrities use this technique, to gain publicity, boost interest in a movie, and increase sales. Stan Lee of Marvel Comics fame adapted this philosophy to playfully insert himself in Marvel movies to excite his fan base.
The concept of cameo appearances can also be applied to leaders. The idea of brief appearances fits the style of many leaders. Cameo Leadership could be defined as a positive or negative leadership style, characterized by a leader influencing direct reports through a series of brief exposures. The style is condoned or condemned by subordinates, based on their value to employee development.
The Cameo Leader™ may fall into two categories, negative and positive. The Negative Cameo Leader is like an absentee landlord. They abdicate their responsibility, and you can’t find them when you need them. The Negative Cameo Leader shows up for a moment without warning. Their interactions lack positive values and developmental opportunities. They arrive on the scene, ready to take center stage, absorbing all the attention and accolades available. They poison the environment in a dictatorial and authoritarian manner. They relish being the boss, as they give orders before practicing their disappearing act.
In the Negative Cameo, the NC Leader will give out an assignment without instructions or supervision. When positive recognition is dispensed upon their department, they will accept the praise and bask in the limelight, and refuse to share the glory. Employees are frustrated because they are deprived of the encouragement and developmental opportunities needed for their growth. Careers suffer because the Negative Cameo Leader is not familiar with their employees, their work ethic, or their work product. They cannot vouch for their direct reports’ performances for they do not have an intimate knowledge of their career aspirations.
The Negative Cameo Leader does not take an interest in the work of their employees or in their lives outside of work. Therefore, they do not deserve or receive loyalty from their people. The Negative Cameo Leader can become a micromanager when they pop up on the scene, drop a few demoralizing comments, and disappear. What they label as individual freedom is a dereliction of duty.
Seagull leadership is where the manager flies overhead, swoops down, and dumps on their people before moving on. This is the hallmark trait of the Negative Cameo Leader.
The Positive Cameo Leader is admired because they are with their people in the beginning during the planning phase. They share the vision and provide the resources and support to do their jobs. They give them responsibility and hold them accountable for the completion of their assignments. They value and trust their employees’ skills, abilities, and judgment. They are encouraging and believe in their people and provide independence because they trust their ability to do the job and forgive them when they make mistakes. People know where they stand with the Positive Cameo Leader, for they have an open-door policy and dispense feedback generously.
In the Situational Leadership model by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard, the leader would delegate responsibilities based on the development level of the employee. The peak performer would receive independence and less direction and support because they have earned it.
The Positive Cameo Leader will visit periodically to see if their people need anything. The job and the responsibilities belong to the employee. The PC Leader creates a culture of collaboration and ownership. They ensure that people think and act like an owner, for they will be held accountable for results. They are not unnecessarily visible; however, they are accessible through a variety of methods.
The Positive Cameo Leader ensures that those who do the work, receive the credit, and the accolades. They look for ways to set their people up for success through encouragement. Positive Cameo Leadership when practiced requires the leader to unselfishly accept their role in working for their people. They are willing to act and pay the price as they practice what they preach.
Cameo Leadership can have a negative or positive perception based on how employees respond to this leadership style. If it is negative, it is corrosive and is a barrier to career development. The Rosenthal effect created by Dr. Robert Rosenthal of Harvard University is the phenomenon in which experimenters treat subjects differently based on their expectations which has a positive or negative influence on subject performance. The Rosenthal effect is evaluated in four categories. They are climate, input, output, and feedback.
Cameo Leadership may be present at various stages of an organization, team, or individual’s development. For example, Positive Cameo Leadership is ideal for an individual or team that is highly skilled and does not require much supervision. A negative cameo is not desirable in most situations.
Cameo Leadership™ impacts the workplace environment. The leader’s expectations of their people determine the climate. Favorable or unfavorable expectations will create a positive or negative interpersonal climate for each individual. Secondly, leadership input, in the form of information and opportunities, is based on positive and negative expectations. Leaders teach more to those whom they expect more and conversely. Thirdly, the output is defined by the level of questions accepted or encouraged by their subordinates. We give them more opportunities to express their questions. This is also based on expectations. Lastly, the Positive Cameo Leader gives feedback that builds or diminishes self-esteem and performance and will praise or criticize for mistakes, in accordance with their level of expectations. The objective is to be a Positive Cameo Leader and minimize Negative Cameo Leadership tendencies.
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.
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.
One of my favorite stories was Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves. What I remember most is the secret words that opened the side of the mountain and revealed a phenomenal treasure. The magic words were, “Open Sesame.” I often wish there were such a phrase we could use in our interactions with people. This iconic phrase would make them feel comfortable enough to share their inner treasures with us. When they are comfortable, accepted, and included, suspicion would disappear. Defense mechanisms would not be activated, and evasive tactics would not be employed.
In our current environment, we need to understand people who are different from us. We value diversity, equity, and inclusion. However, employees often wear invisible self-preservation armor for protection. How can we share our interests if we are not comfortable with each other? Silence, lack of participation, and minimal interaction are diversionary methods. They may seem like a good idea, but the lack of openness may be counterproductive. I support an environment which is an OASIS (Open And Share Information Safely). People in this climate will unleash their full potential and feel a sense of belonging at work.
A constant refrain I heard early in my career, was that people did not know me. People wanted me to tell them more about me, so that they could identify with me. They wanted information outside of work, about family, interests, beliefs, and hobbies. But I was reluctant. Initially, I felt full disclosure, would lead to overexposure. Eventually lowered my shield with certain people, after I developed trust in their intentions.
There are reasons for being guarded; reserving or withholding feelings. We may hear, see, or experience events that prevent us from revealing too much. I engaged in many conversations over lunch. During these discussions I learned the difference in perspective that existed among my peers. During one such conversation, we discussed discrimination. The opening premise by a well-intentioned manager, was that the only kind of discrimination that existed in the United States was economic. They went on to say that if you have the money you can live anywhere without any difficulty. This perspective differed from my personal history and my knowledge of many celebrities who encountered problems in certain neighborhoods. There were broken windows and graffiti and reckless damage to their property. It became clear to me, from this discussion and others, that our different experiences shaped our perspectives, which caused us to view the world differently.
People retract like a turtle or armadillo when they do not feel safe. They will not take a risk or step out on a limb with their perspectives and opinions. I knew someone who went as far as to not place family pictures on their desk. They wanted to separate work from home and keep the company out of their personal affairs. When we open ourselves, we will see the similarities that accentuate our differences and create a powerfully productive connection. I would call this a piece offering. By piece offering I do not mean peace, as in the absence of war, but piece, as in giving them a part of ourselves, to open to a greater dialogue and understanding of each other.
There was a manager who told every ethnic joke imaginable. He was humorous at the lunch table and people enjoyed his witty stories. One day, I pulled the manager aside and said, “I am probably depriving you of some of your best material, by being present here.” He paused, thought, smiled, and looked me in the eyes and said, “you’re probably right.” He did not receive points for sensitivity and not bringing up those stories in my presence. I could argue that he was careful, but the stories may have been told, but not in my presence. If the stories existed for others, they also existed for me and should not have been part of the workplace.
If we are to understand each other better, we must open to each other. If we are to open to each other, we must create a climate where people feel comfortable, accepted, included, and treated equally. There are not any magic words to convince people to be vulnerable. However, by giving of ourselves, even small amounts, and to create the right climate, we can set the stage for a marvelous relationship based on trust and reciprocity where people feel safe. Ultimately this results in a workplace with productivity and innovation that is beneficial for everyone.
A Sea Change is a transformation, an improvement, an adjustment in perspective or performance. The definition is comprised of input from dictionary.com, en.wikipedia.org and idiom.thefreedictionary.com.
The change can be the result of evolution, growing skills or advancement derived from instruction, intense study, practice, consultation, and perseverance. The adjustment may be due to trauma, where someone is thrust into accelerated growth by necessity.
A SEA Change can be as simplified with an acronym SEA (Sustainable, Explainable, and Attainable).
S – Sustainable
E – Explainable
A – Attainable
A SEA Change should be Sustainable and therefore have a long – lasting effect. When it becomes a habit, this change in behavior creates a new modus operandi (method).
A SEA Change should be Explainable. An individual should be able to tell someone how it happened. The pathway to this transformation should be written, verbalized, or transcribed in such a way that they can coach and mentor others. It should not be a secret, nor should it be a mystery. We are obligated to share the mechanics and motivation for the SEA Change.
A SEA Change should be Attainable. It should be the byproduct of a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound). The observation should be realistic with relevant milestones to monitor progress through smooth and rough waters along the journey.
A SEA Change requires the right vision, resources, and people to assist in professional and personal development. An implementation of the 3 attributes should be undertaken to help people become seaworthy on the voyage, to achieve outstanding results.
Many of us are contemplating a SEA Change to help us deal with turbulent and unprecedented challenges. We recognize the need to bolster skills to cope with the current pandemic and the precipitating fallout.
2021 is a phenomenal opportunity for a SEA Change. The SEA Change is on the horizon and in transit. Commit to growing the necessary skills to ensure the change is Sustainable, Explainable and Attainable. Success will have a profound effect on survival skills and the growth of positive interactions and greater influence, while illustrating and illuminating the path to success.
I have a twist on a common adage. Nice guys finish, instead of nice guys finish last. Many times, we attach a negative to the concept of being nice. We view niceness as a form of weakness. If someone is nice, we see them as vulnerable, and subject to being exploited. But the definition of nice does not concede toughness and effectiveness.
Dictionary.com defines nice as, characterized by, showing, or requiring great accuracy, precision, skill, tact, care, or delicacy. Miriam-Webster dictionary lists synonyms for nice to include kind, polite, pleasing, agreeable, appropriate, fitting, socially acceptable, virtuous, and respectable. We could also include trustworthiness.
The definitions and synonyms paint a picture of attributes that we should admire in each other and our associates. But something is lost when we decide to filter nice through the lens of our prospective, and degrade, mislabel, and misinterpret information. These misconceptions may cause us to be condescending and devalue the people who work for us and underestimate their performance.
A company surveyed their customers in a customer satisfaction exercise. They wanted to see, through surveys and interviews, how their sales representatives were perceived by their customers. The word nice came up consistently relative to their competitors. Each group of interviewers reached the same conclusion. The clients enjoyed being with the sales of representatives and thought they were, nice.
The company decided that the word nice was a deficiency and needed to be changed in the minds of the prospects. They viewed nice as weak and therefore, ineffective in a maliciously competitive environment. Nice was a part of the corporate brand in the minds of their customers, which needed to be changed. Nice was not good, and everyone knew that nice guys finished last.
An anti-nice message was delivered to the sales team. They were made to feel inadequate versus competitor companies. Tension was created between the Home Office and the sales force, as they launched allegations against each other. This was a perfect opportunity to capitalize on the relationships built by the sales team with their customers.
Since they owned the nice space in the minds of customers; rather than viewing nice as a negative, building on this favorable perception was an option. Rather than work on a make-over to change their sales representatives into the image of the dominant competitor, exploit the niche of being nice. They should use the perception of nice to gain permission to ask the right questions. They should use the attribute of nice to increase customer interactions and create a space to ask for more business.
Relationships are a key part of the sales process. Individuals with high emotional intelligence can translate this skill into greater customer service, greater customer confidence, customer loyalty and greater sales performance. People like to buy from people whom they know, like, trust and respect. Nice individuals may have skills that are admirable attributes to their clients. You generally like to hire nice people, because it is difficult to create nice people, if you do not have them. You may teach people nice habits and practices, but if they are not nice by nature, in the middle of a crisis or difficult situation, they may relapse to their original tendencies. How often have you heard someone compliment someone who was not a nice person?
The Marriott Corporation’s excellent customer service reputation was addressed in an interview with a business publication. They were asked how they were able to train people to be personable and nice, which attributed to their superb customer service. The head of their training department indicated that they did not have a training program to teach this skill, they addressed this skill in the hiring process. In other words, they hired nice people and trained them on the other things, they needed to know.
There is value in hiring and developing nice people, for they are usually seen as trustworthy. Their personality, service acumen and ability to get along with others, makes them potentially strong members of your team, company/organization, or partners in your relationships. There are individuals who are “too nice” and cannot ask tough questions, take risks or be persistent. These individuals may not be the ones appropriate for your business. But likability alone should not be a detriment to a person’s success.
Nice people finish with relationships that can be created and strengthened. They can be there in the end because people want them around. Nice people have a commitment to service and to people, which makes them desirable members to help you in your quest toward greatness and serving clients. They can often go places and gain business where others have not earned permission. If someone comes across as too good to be true, too nice to be right, vet them as you would any other individual. Do not discount them immediately because they are nice. Because the right nice guys/gals have a reputation or the potential to finish strong.