You know this YouTube thing is wonderful. You can find practically anything right there. It is an immense resource for business people and managers. I often go there if I do not know how to do something and there will be a video or two walking me right through the process. Brilliant! And it is free!
It is through my regular reference to this video how to center that I came across a video that really made me stop and think and reflect. This video caused me to ponder a subject that is out there but rarely gets addressed. As a person that offers up tips for managers to be more effective I feel compelled to bring light to this subject. There typically is not much you can do about it but being on the lookout for this behavior is your best defense. The video I am referencing was done fairly recently by someone I used to work for. He talked about all the things that set his company apart from the competition. He gave examples of what he believed good management and leadership should be. It was impressive. Except for one thing: it was total nonsense!
Many of us have been around people that always say the right thing. It has been my contention that anybody can say things. What they do is what makes the difference. If people did the things they should do rather than what they say they will do the world would be an easier place to exist. Why do managers fail to live up to the hype? They are smart people and must know that the very thing they that just came out of their mouth as the right thing is something that they do not even doing themselves. Is it lack of personality, absence of training, or cosmic forces at work? Let us examine one of the reasons for this disconnect.
I want to share something with you that will give you some insight into the say one thing and do another personality. I do not want to hurt your feelings but here it is: they really do think they are smarter than you. These types of folks mistakenly believe that they are the only ones that have access to the finer points of management and leadership and because of that they can bombard you with quotes and ideas that they believe are above your head and are beyond your comprehension. You may be the most educated person in the room but these clowns are a legend in their own mind. It is worse if they also have extensive formal education. They feel as though you are fortunate to be in the room with them.
I actually worked at a company once that had this guy come into to town to do some training with us. He was considered to be a man on the move. He came into the office and in the course of roughly a half hour or so lost credibility with several people in the room. Here is how he did it. He began by assuming control of the conversation as soon as he entered the room. Then he went on a rant about his beliefs regarding sales and management. He made sure to tell us what we needed to do to be effective with our teams. What sealed the deal for me was when he made several references to quotes from some well known authors and books. He did not however give appropriate credit to the source of these nuggets. He mistakenly assumed that he was the only person in the room who read books! What an idiot. I could not believe that this guy was passing off this stuff as his own. Whoever said arrogance knows no bounds was one smart cookie.
The best defense against this type of manager is to guard against being like him. If you read something that is interesting or useful share it with your people. Always give proper credit to the source. You have to make sure that if you put expectations out that you deliver in your own behavior. There is nothing that will make people refuse to follow you quicker than a manager that says one thing and then does another. You do not want to be the person who puts a quote on their email signature that people see and say ‘whatever’. If you put it out there back it up. I once heard a trainer say in a seminar that in management your reputation is all you have. The staff is watching what you do and say at all times.
You must be aware of those that want to impress you with words. Just think about resumes that people send in. Have you ever seen one where the applicant was not a high achiever in their previous position? Are all employees’ high rated performers? I think you know the answer. How is it that everyone seems to be a go getter on the resume and in the interview? Base your evaluation on the doing and behave with the expectation that others will hold you to that same standard. In these times I need action. I am sure you do to. We all want instant gratification. Do not give in to this because this need is what allows and even encourages these people who will mislead you. Be sharp and do what you say you will do and you will have credibility with your staff and customers. It will take you down the path to becoming a smart manager.