Approach Becomes Reproach

chew toy

I’ve spent a lot of time recently talking with prospective employers, prospective clients, and just about any one who will listen.  Those conversations have opened my eyes to something I should have gotten a clue to long ago: People don’t hate me because I am better than they are; they hate me because I act like I am better than they are. Here I was thinking my peers were just threatened by my intellect, my wit, and my influence.  It turns out, though, they were turned off by my approach.  And as I should have known all too well, approach is just about everything.   My biggest mistake (and weakness) – one I’m very much coming to terms with – has been to assume my contributions and results would speak for themselves. And they do…for a while.  But ultimately no one wants to work with a jerk.  I know I throw my weight around sometimes; I know I lose my temper when I shouldn’t; I know I’m less judicious with barbs than I should be; I know I am not afraid to tell someone they’re wrong…and to wrestle it to the ground like a puppy with a chew toy.   That approach works with some, but not most.  And while I may leave the table feeling as if I held my ground, that I maintained my integrity, that I won the battle, chances are I didn’t do myself or any one else any long-term favors in the process.  Approach builds (or destroys) respect; it strengthens (or weakens) influence; it establishes (or disintegrates) allegiance. I get it.  I preach it.  I just haven’t always followed it.

The nugget for me in all of this?  Being “right” isn’t a valid indication of success in the workplace.

Yes, this is a confession of sorts.  And as prospective employers and/or clients by chance read this blog, I hope they’ll take it as a sign of acceptance…a massive step toward recovery.  This is the one thing that will get in the way of my doing great things in the world of HR.  I am here today to tell you I intend to obliterate that one thing.

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