You have to put forth your best image, but don’t be so successful at it that, like the movie star, you fall for your own publicity. Be willing to admit to yourself what your shortcomings are. You’d be surprised at how many managers can’t do that. They, of course, have shortcomings. They can’t be experts at everything and their mindset must be adjusted appropriately.
Self Infatuation and Self Contradiction Mindset
But in ascending to their position, they find that many people start catering to them. It takes an unusual manager to realize that all the honoring treatment doesn’t increase intelligence or boost knowledge. It’s easy and pleasant to sit back and accept all that bowing and scraping. The manager is soon convinced that the adoration is deserved and a dangerous mindset will appear. Perhaps the charisma you think is personal is merely created by the position you hold.
The infallibility syndrome becomes most noticeable at the level of chief executive officer. Between the beginning manager and the top post are varying degrees of infallibility that seem to go with the job. You have to keep an honest perspective and mindset about who you are. Yet some CEOs fall into the infallibility trap. This may explain in part why the average tenure of chief executive officers of Fortune 500 companies is only three and one half years.
If you were named CEO, you wouldn’t automatically become smarter than you were the day before. But people would start listening to you as though you were dispensing pearls of great wisdom. You didn’t get smarter; you just gained more power. Don’t confuse the two!
Pay little attention to what executives say in this regard. Pay more attention to what they do. If an executive says, “I hire people who are smarter than I am,” think about what he does. Do all the people he hires seem to be clones of him? If an executive says, “I encourage my people to disagree with me. I don’t want to be surrounded by yes men,” remember what happened last week when the executive snapped off the head of a subordinate who expressed a different point of view. If an executive says, “My door is always open,” and then looks visibly upset when you walk in saying, “Do you have a moment?” the words ring hollow, indeed. The words are contradicted by actions and attitude.
Throughout your business life, you’ll encounter executives who espouse impressive management philosophies and mindsets. The main problem is that they wield their authority using other, less desirable concepts.
Shortcomings and Prejudicial Mindset
You don’t need to advertise your weaknesses. That’s foolish; just be willing to admit them to yourself and do all you can to correct them.
For example, the things you probably don’t do well are also the things that you don’t enjoy. That’s hardly a coincidence.
Exercise some self-discipline and get the chores you don’t like out of the way. Remember that in your performance appraisal, the quality of your work will not excuse errors in the tasks you don’t like. So, even the tasks you don’t care for demand quality performance.
Every job has aspects to it that you’re not going to like; get them done well, so they are out of the way and you can get to the parts you enjoy.
Be willing to admit that you may have mindsets or attitudes that are a problem. You can’t take the edge off them if you do not acknowledge them.
For example, think of the manager who has a prejudice against other managers who leave the office at five. He believes that when people become managers, their work comes first and social and family obligations have to wait.
He also believes that any manager who leaves so early could not possibly have gotten all her work done, or done it well. His attitude probably derives from the manager’s own inability to get his work done if he leaves the office at five.
That’s his prejudice; it’s his mindset. It’s not provable; it’s an emotional feeling he has. In dealing with managers who have a life outside of work this type of manager must be aware of his mindset and make every effort to overcome it—but without overcompensating for it. It’s a tough situation, but we must first be willing to admit a fault or a strongly held belief before we can deal with it.
An ability to identify and acknowledge any deeply held beliefs or biases is a core element of emotional maturity. You do not have to set them aside, only understand how they impact your perception of, and dealings with, others. You do not want to be like the person you have almost certainly experienced who overwhelms the room with his or her excessively stated beliefs or mindset. This might be fine when the person is spending social time with like-minded friends, but it does not work in a business setting.
Most people’s inclination when confronted by such a person is to minimize their connection and the sharing of information for fear of not aligning with his or her mindset. The person who chooses to “wear his beliefs on his sleeve” suffers for that style.