Tag Archives: director

How Do “Suck Ups” Damage Your Business And Career?

Suck ups in your business

  • Why do we hire the people that we do?
  • How do we get “suck ups” in our business in the first place?
  • Most importantly – what is the effect to your bottom line?

In working with many large organisations I always ask to see the documents that describe leadership or management behaviours that are expected. Typical examples include: “communicates a clear vision” or “helps people to develop to their maximum potential”.

I have yet to find one profile that includes “effectively sucks up to management”. Although, somehow, these people infiltrate organisations. While almost every company says it wants people to “challenge the system” and to “be empowered to express your opinion” and “say what you really think” there sure are a lot of performers who are stuck on sucking up.

Leaders say they don’t encourage sucking up – or do they?

Almost all the leaders I have met say that they would never encourage such a thing in their organisation. I have no doubt that they are sincere. Most of us are irritated, if not disgusted by these gluteus maximus kissers.

Which raises the question: if leaders say they discourage sucking up, why does it dominate the workplace? And keep in mind that these leaders are generally very shrewd judges of character. And yet they still fall for the super-skilled suck up. They still play favourites.

The simple answer: We can’t see in ourselves what we can see so clearly in others

I use this test with my clients to demonstrate how we all unknowingly encourage sucking up.

I ask a group of leaders “How many of you own a dog that you love?”

Big smiles cross the faces of the executives as they wave their hands in the air.. They beam as they tell me the names of their always-faithful hounds. Then we have contest. I ask them “At home, who gets most of your unabashed affection? Is it a) your husband, wife or partner, b) your kids or c) your dog?” More than 80 % of the time the dog is the winner.

I then ask the executives if they love their dogs more than their family members. The answer is always a predictable but resounding no.

My follow up question: “So why does the dog get most of your attention?”

Their replies are all similar: “The dog is always happy to see me”, “The dog never talks back”, The dog gives me unconditional love, no matter what I do”. In other words the dog is a suck up.

3 step process for finding out who is a suck up in your team

  1. How much do they like me? (I know you can’t be sure. What matters is how much you think they like you. Effective suck ups are good actors. That’s what fawning is: Acting)
  2. What is their contribution to the company and its customers? (In other words, are they A players, B, C or worse?).
  3. How much positive personal recognition do I give them?

What the 3 step process means to your business

What we’re looking for is whether the correlation is strongest between one, and three or two and three.

If we’re honest with ourselves, our recognition of people may be linked to how much they seem to like us rather than how well they perform. That’s the definition of playing favourites.

And the fault is ours.

We’re encouraging the kind of behaviour that we despise in others. Without meaning to, we are basking in the hollow praise, which makes us hollow leaders.

This quick self-analysis won’t solve the problem. But it does identify it – which is where change can begin.

For more information that would help the business performance of your organisation you can contact me at the following email: Ross@incpetionbusinesssolutions.com

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What Can Sherlock Holmes Teach Us About Office Politics?

“Politics” is rampant in every organisation and it always will be.

Sometimes it is calculated, sometimes it is unconscious but why does it happen at all and is there any way of managing it?

“You see, but you do not observe” (Sherlock Holmes) A Scandal in Bohemia, 1892

As CEO’s or leaders within companies it is critical that we are able to observe what is really going on within our organisation to ensure that we are not only presented with the “facts” that we want to hear.

The reason that organisations have politics and always will is because people are trying to get their needs met. It has nothing to do with you or the company.

Suppose we look at the banking industry. Would it be unreasonable that this greed for making more and more money at the expense of ethics is born out of a desire to be better than someone else – and in that industry the bonus was the measure. Their needs were significance. Can you imagine this person as a child? What they may have been like? Highly competitive?

Or what about the person in the company who is blaming other people when things go wrong and taking credibiltiy of other people’s successes (the are strongly linked)?

And the reason that we are all conditioned to have certain needs and behave in certain ways is because when we were children it worked with our parents so our subconsious brain makes the link that this works, why stop doing it?

Is the decoupling of number of facebook users and share price a concern for us all?

Emperors New Clothes?

Social media. We all talk about how important it is. We are all aware of its impact on society. The question is really – Is it actually going to grow my business?

I am always amazed at people who proclaim social media to be critical to the growth of their company and revenue. Well again here is the biggest example of that NOT being true. Facebook has over 1 billion users and yet it’s share price continues to fall as revenue projections consistently fail to materialise. Bigger is not better.

And maybe we can see this already closer to home. I have attended several networking events with social media “experts” and “gurus”. Thing is, anyone can call themselves a guru or expert last time I checked there was no certified body handing these qualifications out. Anyway, they are all stood around plying their trade to desparate companies who are trying anything to keep revenue coming in.

My concern with this is this: if you are so good at social and online media – why are you even here? All of your business should be coming through your online activity?

Talk the talk or Walk the Talk?

How can you immediately find out how “good” they really are? Go to their twitter account or facebook page and check how many “likes” or “followers” they actually have. You will be very surprised.