Monday, 4 June 2012

Rule #1: Don’t Get Shot Off The Horse

In business, I advise every manager I work with to intimately embrace the principle of not being a big shot.  You are not more important than others no matter how wonderful you think you are.  Insecurities often are covered up by popping out our chest and measuring how ours are bigger than theirs (houses, cars etc.).  I often see people try to one-up others. When I see people in my company (albeit very rarely) use their authority in a way that lord’s it over someone I typically get involved as I am very conscientious that leaders serve, not chest pound.  Sometimes people need to learn this lesson, so I tell them a story from an incredible book I read called, “On The Phycology Of Military Incompetence”.

“There was General Featherstonehaugh who at the battle of Belmont insisted on riding up and down in front of his men in full regalia, thereby announcing his importance to the enemy and effectively hampering the fire of his own men.  It was not long before the Boers rectified his error by shooting him off his horse.” P. 59

I tell our managers and those I meet with, “Either we strive to operate in humility, or we get shot off the horse. Don't get shot off the horse.” 

Do you know a boss that prances up and down in full regalia?  If so, here are some tips:

1.        Push Past Pigheadedness: The regalia prancing boss is not intentionally showing off.  Odds are he is under pressure and instead of operating in humility you are seeing subconscious reactions to problems they are trying to solve.  If you can ‘take the body check’ and forget about how foolish and devaluing their actions are and simply focus on the solution, you will be heroically ahead of many as you truly are doing what you are paid to do: serve and solve problems.

2.       Ignore the irony:   Bosses are meant to serve, and yet all too often we see bosses wrapped up in their agenda and fulfilment.  It is ironic that a boss wakes up, drives to work and gets paid to serve, yet their actions speak of being served.   This ‘injustice’ often paralyzes many.  The ‘hurt’ employee focuses on the bosses failures and thus diverts attention from the opportunity at hand: serving and solving problems.  Your advancement will not come by way of focusing on your bosses actions (unless they are illegal, then act accordingly), but by way of focusing on you.

3.       Speak Words Of Life:  Your words create reality. Words are incredibly powerful.  Determine now what you want your future to look like.  When the boss acts like an idiot, speak words of life into existence.
My next entry, I will write on how to speak directly to a difficult boss without being a pushover, and yet not being too aggressive.  There is a balance and confidence is key.  For now, check out Brian Regan’s take on ‘bigshots’….have a great day.

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