When was the last time you were forced to actually talk to your boss? Did it go well? Did you leave the encounter confident that your hard work is both noticed and appreciated? Were you filled with a renewed enthusiasm and confidence?
I didn’t think so.
What is about our Fearless Leaders that makes them act like that? What on earth could they possibly have against us? Were they traumatized as children? Are they secretly ashamed that they haven’t been able to break their addiction to anime? I would love to know.
I had an epiphany the other day after listening to Mrs. RW talk about her latest interaction with one of our Fearless Leaders. You see, many of us will readily agree that we are several orders of magnitude better-looking, smarter, and generally more competent than our bosses, but many of us still feel that their latest brainwave is directed at us personally… it’s not.
In order for our Fearless Leaders to make something personal, it would require them to stop obsessing about their latest pet project for actual seconds at a time and it is simply not possible for them to do two things at once. In fact, I argue that this inability is the reason why they were promoted to Fearless Leading in the first place.
My hypothesis is that the more incompetent your Fearless Leader is, the more personal their latest idea will seem. This is because these people are the most clueless about what their idea will actually cost, how long it will take, and why it won’t work anyway.
I know that some folks really want to believe that their Fearless Leaders are on top of things and have everything well in hand, but sadly I’ve seen little empirical evidence of this. In fact, I’m willing to bet that any institution that appears to be working well is largely in spite of the Fearless Leading that they receive and not as a result of it.
Perhaps somewhere out there in some magical land far, far, away there are Fearless Leaders who actually contribute to their employees’ efforts in a meaningful way. Perhaps you even know one. If that’s the case then please feel free to bask in the smugness of having it better than the rest of us.
For the rest of us, I think that it might be worth remembering that most of the time at least; it’s not personal, it’s stupid.