Who do you work with you think is a dumb ass?
Someone who you will never ask for advice. Did you ever take the time to sort out the different levels of stupid? Here is a thought to ponder: Ignorance can be educated, crazy can be medicated. But what is the cure for stupid?
There have been dopey leaders since the beginning of time. Some will own their mistakes while others just get a glazed look and say “huh?”
Here’s what Cicero, the Roman politician, and lawyer had to say way back in the day “Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.”
Check these 3 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 so 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 many others have been credited with the quote. Take your pick, each is a super creative innovator and the opposite of a stupid leader.
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 work this way for a minute…
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 problem and the creative juices keep flowing. It’s fun and challenging.
However, if you keep facing the same problems over and over 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 just pick yourself up to get out of the tension that conflict arouses? Here is a good quote to memorize from American philosopher Elbert Hubbard about being an avoider, “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.”
Don’t take an avoider’s excuse at face value. They know what is going on and simply let others tackle the tough stuff. They usually only want to come back 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 change is embarrassing an even exhausting.
Stupid leaders let their fears keep them from engaging.
Habit #3: Denial:
This is a group of stupid leaders we could call the “NOTSEES.” (Say this fast and shudder!) They pretend the world is great and they are part of the truly best and the brightest. They always praise themselves, rarely do any research to see if what they are thinking has any true merit (flat earthers, anyone?), and they never have backup plans in case a dose of reality hits them on the head.
Denying what is going on will not make it go away (climate change, anyone?). It makes it tough for any real change to happen.
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 take off the foggy glasses, even for just a brief time.
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 need to disrupt the traditional way of holding back what you are thinking and become a leader with your stupid boss or supervisor regardless of where you fit in the pecking order.
And, 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 back and white.
I have a great assessment tool that has helped so many become better bosses and eliminate the 3 habits 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 give you the info.