Its not a rant I promise
This may seem like the rant chapter, but its not. Its simply a collection of ‘dickish’ moments I have either been guilty of in the past or I have noticed them within others around me. I’m sharing them here so you can keep an eye out for them within yourself and your surroundings.
With each ‘dickish’ act I’ve offered what you might like to call an antidote, a way to combat this moment in time. I finish this chapter with some thoughts on ‘confident-humility’. Its kinda the space between being a dick (over confident) and being self-deprecating (overly humble)…
Top 10 ‘Dickish’ Acts you shouldn’t do – but should watch out for
One: Don’t be a dick – on the way up, as we will often meet these people at another time (maybe on the way down…)
Antidote – You should be actively working toward the idea of all people being advocates, if you get promoted or gain success be appreciative of all those who helped you get there – because you did not do this alone (as much as you may think you did).
Two: Don’t be a dick – when you enter a room, don’t hog the space that should be shared
Antidote – you may well be charismatic or bold, and be able to carry it off. But you will miss the gold of the quieter few who have a story to be shared that could be the lesson you need (or the connection you desire). Be the one who create space for others.
Three: Don’t be a dick – In monopolising the conversation, there are more voices to be heard than just yours.
Antidote – you may well have been there and done that and have lessons to share, but these may not be the ones the conversation needs. In fact actively create opportunities for the other voices to be heard, leave a gap or invite people in, listen and ask for more.
Four: Don’t be a dick – In meetings. Just because you know it doesn’t mean you have to be the one who says it
Antidote – if someone else says it great, look across the room and give an acknowledging nod, support it, celebrate it. If yours becomes the main voice you risk becoming the noise and all of what you say being grouped together. Therefore the really important stuff could get missed.
Five: Don’t be a dick – when you ask unhelpful questions of others, its just not that clever (and people notice)
Antidote – if you are asking a question to deliberately ‘knock someone down a peg or two’ then be careful because that stuff comes back to you. And when it does they may have a more powerfully and eloquent way to deliver it. Ask questions that will enrich the room.
Six: Don’t be a dick – in success, its just arrogant and will bring you the wrong friends
Antidote – In success, acknowledge your part and the part of others in this (don’t be so humble as to forget you). If someone lost in some way because of your success, check-in with them, perhaps celebrate their endeavour as its likely to be this that pushed you to do/be more.
Seven: Don’t be a dick – in failure, its just childish and will have people stepping away
Antidote – ok hands up, I said failure. What I mean is when you don’t win/achieve the outcome you desire. Take it as a lesson (as hard as it is), look at what you did and what others did. Congratulate those who won/achieved, consider taking time to debrief with them.
Eight: Don’t be a dick – and claim others work as yours, you will get found out
Antidote – You can only fake this higher intelligence so long. You will be discovered. Applaud the good work of others, reference them as you should. If other people’s work has informed your thinking be open about this.
Nine: Don’t be a dick – and believe you are the solution to other peoples problems
Antidote – most problems are ‘wicked’ and have multiple reasons for their existence. At best we can hope to minimise the impact of these. Don’t over promise, offer truthful guidance and let people hear of the risks associated. Its not as simple as if we do this that will happen especially where people are involved.
Ten: Don’t be a dick – on the way out of the door if you loose a tender or feel misunderstood
Antidote – we all make mistakes, we all get it wrong. They may have too. Leave with dignity and with an open invitation for them to get in touch should they desire. Who knows they may need you in the future and you want to make it easy for them to re-engage (protect all ego’s)
The antidotes are all strategies that will build advocacy and will lead to an increased likelihood of the right work with the right people.
Sometimes we may come across as a ‘dick’ due to our eagerness to show our success or achievements. Our confidence can be perceived as arrogance (self-indulgent). Often in these situations the antidote is humility, however being overly humble could lead us down the road of self-deprecation (and undervaluing ourselves).
There seems to be a tension between ‘confidence’ and ‘humility’. I don’t wish to be seen as arrogant but if we are always humble when do we get to shout proudly about what we do.
I am really interested in the balance (space) between the two – ‘confident humility’, when your success, skills, capability is delivered or shared with the right manner, and we are not so humble or modest that we belittle and lose the joy of our achievements for fear of being seen as ‘a dick. Humility at the expense of oneself is bad.
Here’s my thinking:
- Where confidence is to high we risk arrogance in our behaviours (self-importance)
- Where confidence is to low we risk doubt in ourselves (self-insecurities)
- Where humility is to high we risk belittlement of our achievement (self-deprecation)
- Where humility is to low we risk egotism and vanity (self-admiration)
To find the balance between the two and to act/behave with ‘confident humility’ is to have belief in our capability (and limitations) and to have respect for our achievements (with modesty). If we get this right others will see our acts as pride and not arrogance.
Don’t be a dick, any benefits are short lived, you will be found out and the wrong people will gather around you. The people you need will move away from you and you will find yourself isolated. It wont happen overnight so be careful not to trick yourself into thinking all is ok. But it will happen. One day you will wake up and you will be at the table alone.
Act with pride, yes be modest about your achievements but make sure you own them. Believe with certainty what you can do whilst knowing (and maybe acknowledging) what you cant (or are yet to learn to) do. Have conviction and courage in your actions, advocate your position but be open to influence (you may be wrong, be ready an open to learning when you are – this is a game changer).
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