He was in this IT management role because he knew his stuff better than anyone else. He had an outstanding, results-driven work ethic – long hours on top of impressive tenure, but more importantly if he said he’d do something, his follow-through was flawless. So how could such dedication blow up in his face? Misperceptions.
Others misperceived his “smartest guy in the room” as belittling, demotivating, and dehumanizing. You can call it strong language when compared to the words this IT manager used to describe his dedication: “I can’t believe these people I care so deeply about would go around me to my own manager and HR and say these things. I know I am forceful in my style, but it is also to help them get the job done and thus get ahead in their own careers.”
When I (Holly the blogger) see this phenomenon in Generations X and Y, I know it is because they themselves had a manager who behaved this way, and that person was unfortunately a model for them on “how to do leadership”. That’s why the Golden Rule doesn’t always work: “Do unto others as you’d have them do onto you.” That’s because some managers like this aforementioned one are thick-skinned and actually appreciated their own forceful managers years earlier. This is why we have something called the Platinum Rule: “Do onto others as they’d have you do onto them.”
This is also why we have leadership programs, consulting, and coaching. In fact, there is an enormous glut in the leadership development industry. Do your homework and find a leadership development organization with a solid track record that has self-awareness and emotional intelligence as a cornerstone to creating trust-inspired, cohesive, collaborative management teams. This is EQ, not IQ stuff. Managers like the man referred to in this post are plenty smart, and they will “get it” when given the opportunity to experience a better way. They will also sustain it when supported upon their return from this kind of leadership development support.