Summary: Who do you work with you think is a dumb ass? Here are ideas to move beyond judging and make a positive difference at work.
Everyone has their idea of what “stupid” means.
Someone who you will never ask for advice. Did you ever take the time to sort out the different levels of stupid?
Ignorance can be educated, and crazy can be medicated. But what is the cure for stupid?
Accordingly, there have been dopey leaders since the beginning of time. Some will own their mistakes, while others look glazed and say, “Huh?”
As an illustration, here’s what Cicero, the Roman politician, and lawyer, had to say: “Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.”
Here are three habits that can keep you labeled as mega-stupid.
And you know the old saying, if the shoe fits …. It must belong to you.
Habit #1: Pattern repetition:
It’s true that “if you also do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.” Henry Ford, Mark Twain, Tony Robbins, and others have been credited with the quote. Take your pick; each is a super creative innovator and the opposite of a stupid leader.
In other words, stupid means you hide under the covers when change is in the air. It means you are willing to end up with what worked in the past and is no longer relevant. That means stagnation and, yes, pattern repetition.
Think about working this way for a minute.
Indeed, the passion for being a leader or an entrepreneur is to be a creative problem solver. Once you solve a problem, you get to the next issue, and the creative juices keep flowing. It’s fun and challenging.
If you face the same problems repeatedly and the responses are always the same, it’s no longer a problem: It’s a pattern.
Pay attention: when the tendency is to repeat ineffective and often self-destructive behavior, you are in the realm of stupid.
Habit #2: Avoidance:
What do you do when a situation is uncomfortable? Do you find an excuse to leave or pick yourself up to escape the tension that conflict arouses?
As an illustration, here is an excellent quote to memorize from American philosopher Elbert Hubbard about being an avoider, “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”
Avoiders hate conflict and will leave when it gets confrontational.
Therefore, don’t take an avoider’s excuse at face value. They know what is happening and let others tackle the tough stuff. They usually only want to return to talk when they think there will be a happy outcome.
Please remember that becoming self-aware is disruptive and inevitably requires change. And many times, the difference is embarrassing and even exhausting.
Stupid leaders let their fears keep them from engaging.
Habit #3: Denial:
We could call This group of stupid leaders the “NOTSEES.” (Say this fast and shudder!) They pretend the world is excellent and they are part of the truly best and the brightest.
They always praise themselves, rarely do any research to see if what they think has any merit (flat earthers, anyone?), and never have backup plans in case a dose of reality hits them on the head.
In other words, denying what is happening will not make it disappear (climate change, anyone?). It makes it challenging for any real change to happen.
Remember that denial is more than a river in Egypt!
These stupid leaders will always point the finger at others while they defend their position, justify their thinking and attack those who disagree.
What can you do to help a stupid leader smarten up?
Your job is to speak up, stay centered and offer suggestions. You can talk about a book that will help your stupid leader remove the foggy glasses, even briefly.
One great book is Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe.
The cure for stupid is communication and compassion. You must disrupt the traditional way of holding back what you think and become a leader with your stupid boss or supervisor, regardless of where you fit in the pecking order.
In conclusion, if you are the boss, maybe it’s a good time to ask HR to have a 360 assessment so you can see your weak spots in the back and white.
Here’s to your success,
PS. I have a great assessment tool that has helped so many become better bosses and eliminate the three habits that may be keeping you labeled as mega-stupid because it is focused on behavior patterns that are no longer effective. Send me an email, and I will send you the info.