PLEASE WALK YOUR RIGHTEOUS TALK

Steve Hardy at Creative Generalist has done a valuable capture from Caterina, in turn captured from a presentation by Intuit’s Keoki Andrus. Moreover, comments to the post of origin elaborate a fuller itemization. Here’s two of the lists compiled by Steve.

Seven Deadly Deficiencies
1. Contempt for others
2. Obsession with self
3. Commitment dysfunction
4. Inflexible mindset
5. No productive focus
6. Unrelenting pessimism
7. Embraces Dilbertian views of leaders

Eight Ways to Wipe Out High Performers
1. Work overload
2. Lack autonomy (micromanagement)
3. Skimpy rewards
4. Loss of connection
5. Unfairness
6. Value conflicts
7. Let low-performers ride
8. Create an environment of fear, uncertainty and doubt

These are ways to wipe out colleagues and subordinates regardless of the ‘height’ of their performance. I, or anybody, could add to these lists. The deadliest deficiency in my experience is hypocricy, talking up commitments and principles while walking them down, right out of existence.  #2 Obsession with self,  is especially destructive when it is paired with deficits of self-knowledge.

This latter pairing can result in very annoying, hypocritical, behaviors. The ready example, because I’ve been subjected to the behavior so many times, is when someone presents for approval a strength that is actually a weakness. If I had a dime for every time a piss-poor listener tried to get me to acknowledge that they are a really good listener, I’d have a lot of dimes.

(For the record, I can be a good listener but it takes a big effort on my part!)

It is a common aspect of the positive face people wish to present that people elevate some of their weak characteristics. Yet, it is also my experience that the hunt for validation is often a red flag. In other words, people don’t need to be reminded of what your best qualities are; they should be self-evident and speak for themselves.

As an old timer, this subject always brings to my mind the great work of Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, and, also, the framework concerned with the problem of the Personaprovided by C.G. Jung; see CW7, |Two Essays on Analytic Psychology|. Between the two the continuum between typical eruptions of self-deception and horrid narcissism is brilliantly covered.

Dr. de Vries has written a series of very important books. (My guess is they are taught more in European business programs than they are taught here in the U.S.. If true, this is indicative of a different relationship to depth psychology as it manifests itself in curricular commitments.) His focus has long been on behavioral dysfunctions discovered at the level of individual personality found in top level managers. Dr. Kets de Vries is a trained psychoanalyst so his view on this is richly psychodynamic.

I recommend his work without reservation and one could start where I did, with his classic |Leaders, Fools, Imposters| Jossy-Bass, then read |Organizational Paradoxes|, Tavistock Publications. His |Life and Death in the Executive Fast Lane| Jossy-Bass, won The Critics Choice Award as the best business book of 1995.

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