Success in a World of Narcissists

How do you hire and fully engage employees when we live in such a narcissistic world where emotions are considered equal to, or even more reliable truth than facts or logic?

Please note, when I say "employees", it includes every leader and owner. 

Thousands of years ago an old, renown teacher taught his students that you can observe someone's behaviors to determine whether they are filled with wisdom and discernment.  The 9 Attributes of Wisdom he encouraged you to look for are:

  1. Love

  2. Joy

  3. Peace

  4. Patience

  5. Kindness

  6. Goodness

  7. Faithfulness

  8. Gentleness

  9. Self-control

Our hiring process should put everyone through a test drive, where we give them real work to complete to assess their timeliness, quality, and the way they work with others.  During the test the individual should exhibit at least some of the 9 behaviors above indicating they have some maturity and wisdom.  This confirms it is highly probable they can be a great team member and further strengthen your company culture.

However, most organizations do not test candidates for soft skills, quality of work, learning ability, and timeliness.  Then they get upset when a new employee fails in these areas.  Why do so many job candidates lack wisdom, which drives their ability to consistently achieve results?

A major contributing factor is adults and future generations are being taught a polarizing opposite to the 9 attributes of wisdom by too much of today's media and too many educational institutions.

For instance, one could argue the 9 Attributes of Narcissism encouraged by a lot of our media and educational institutions today is:

  1. Hate

  2. Low self-esteem

  3. Anger

  4. Impatience

  5. Selfishness

  6. Perversion

  7. Higher standards for others

  8. Bullying

  9. "If it feels good then do it"

Fake news reinforces whatever someone wants to promote.  It is commonplace today and designed to look like truth.  Yes, the authors of fake news lack integrity, but the issue goes much deeper.  The damage is people believe fake news is real because it validates the 9 Attributes of Narcissism.  Even after having fake news exposed many of those readers refuse to let go of the lies they read, heard, or watched that validated their negative judgment of others.

If you don't believe me, then just do an online search for "fake news."

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Pick any issue or celebrity.  You can find an opinion article, podcast/radio show, or video where someone is exaggerating or totally distorting truth.

So… what do you do as a leader?

This situation is complex, however, here are some ideas to consider as a starting point:

#1 – Hire carefully.  Pose real-life scenarios to job candidates to see how they think.  Have them take a test drive of up to 1 week where they do actual work.  This enables you to see how well they apply what they learn, follow your best practice processes, relate to others, and own their mistakes.

#2 – Have a robust onboarding program for new employees that teaches them your values (how your people do work and make decisions).  Run them through exercises so you confirm they are applying your values to how they work.

#3 - Practice “Good Cop Leadership,” which is modeled after good cop bad cop negotiation style.  Leaders should always be the "good cop.”  The "bad cop" are your company standards, best practice processes, client expectations, government laws… Your role as the leader is to respectfully, empathetically, encouragingly come alongside employees when they make mistakes to discuss how can WE get through this/correct this.  Be firm on the boundary and refer to your "bad cops."  Be nice, but firm.

#4 – Train your people on soft skills on a regular basis.  Try a free subscription to Dave's Charm School and use the training material as the "bad cop."  Often times it's much easier to point out where people are making a mistake or not meeting company standards when you use a third-party as the bad guy.  We have Clients who subscribe to Dave's Charm School because it is the fastest, easiest way to train their people on soft skills, and using it as the “bad cop” enables them to have deeper, more transformational conversations about difficult issues.

#5 – Be a 3strands Leader and a role model of Systematic Power, Meaningful Work, and Sincere Gratitude.

Don't let untruths and emotions infect your company culture.  Teach your people new habits to overcome the temptations of bad habits.  Develop the 9 Attributes of Wisdom taught thousands of years ago to your people so your workplace can thrive.