We’re going to jump right back into the discussion we started in last week’s post, “Why Good Leaders Go Bad: Brilliant Jerks,” and continue our exploration of the anatomy of brilliant jerks. In this post, we’re specifically going into how resistance to change factors into why good leaders go bad. This is also another post on the longer side, so without further ago, let’s get back into it
This week on the blog, in somewhat a change of pace, we are going to get a little topical. Over the weekend, I had an experience that taught me a few important lessons about what it means to be a leader, and I thought this experience would make an equally valuable teachable moment for my readers and followers. I don’t know if I could sum up the lesson in a single phrase, but what became clear to me as a result of this experience is that confidence without humility results in loss of credibility and arrogance in any form erodes one’s ability to be a leader. So, this week, I want to begin a multi-part series to explore why and how good leaders go “bad.” The topic for this week is the anatomy of the “brilliant jerk.” We’ll be looking at this specific incident, uncovering its implications for leadership in general, and figuring out what it means with regard to what leaders owe to themselves and others.
After publishing my blog post titled “The 13 Destructive Behaviors of Toxic Bosses” a couple of weeks ago, I received several inquiries about how one might go about surviving these bosses, which prompted me to publish this post. I hope that the suggestions here will be useful and beneficial to the unfortunately large number of people out there who are working for bosses who have no clue how to be leaders. Most workplaces put a great deal of emphasis on hiring the best talent out there and bringing in extraordinary people, only to make them feel less than ordinary by relegating them to toil under an unqualified, toxic boss. Great organizations ensure that their leadership team is enlightened because they know that great leaders can take even seemingly “ordinary” people and bring out the extraordinary in them.
If you have been following my work for any significant amount of time, you know that I am not one to dwell on the negative behavior of others. My focus is on introspection and building resilience and developing transformative insight in the face of adversity. I believe in taking responsibility for not only my own actions, but also for my responses to other people’s actions. As a leader, no matter where you are on the organizational chart, you always benefit from declaring yourself “The One” and being pro-active rather than reacting to other circumstances or people. This is especially true for those of us who have to deal with toxic bosses.
I know that I promised that we would be back to our regularly schedule blog posts this week, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was still a bit more to elaborate on regarding the topic of my previous post, i.e. “How Not to Be a Leader.” If you haven’t already, I recommend that you read that post before this one, because this is a direct continuation under the assumption that readers are familiar with the ideas discussed previously. With that said, this is intended to be more of an addendum to my previous post, rather than the second part in earnest, and so it will (hopefully) be a slightly more focused treatment of a few more elements of not being a leader. Without further ado, let’s get into it.