There’s an old business axiom that says:
“Be careful of the person that answers a question by pointing their finger at someone else.”
In my decades in business, it always held true. The concept never waivered. Not once.
If there was a problem and folks were questioned about it, all I you had to do was ask one simple question, “Why?”
If a person jumped up to tell you how someone else had failed and was to blame for the problem, that person jumping up was always at the root of the problem. Nothing but a feeble and childish attempt to misdirect investigations and cloud the issue at hand.
Closely related to this axiom is this concept:
“If someone jumps up out of the blue to bring to light the actions of someone else, that person jumping up has something to gain by it.”
Just the same, it’s nothing more than a feeble misdirect, and in this case, it’s usually brought on by jealousy. That someone else may be getting more attention than the person jumping up making it necessary (in their mind) to knock them down a point or two so that people won’t admire them as much.
“If I can discredit them so they don’t get so much attention, maybe I’ll get it instead.”
The only problem with this line of thinking is that the person that craves the attention that someone else gets typically has no merit of their own to be admired. They’re mediocre at best, but at the same time overly jealous that no one notices or praises their mediocrity.
It plays out in “celebrity” headlines practically every day. A bit actor on a sitcom that went off the air four decades ago decides to write a book that slams the long-since deceased co-stars and praises the author as some sort of hero for speaking up now. The slams come in the form of accusations of impropriety that can never be substantiated, in any way verified or even refuted by the deceased. Not quite a fair playing field. Stone cold jealousy and scorn from an insignificant person with no skill or ability of their own to display. It’s nothing more than that.
“Don’t judge me by MY inability to act, judge the OTHER people around me that COULD act ‘cause I say they did bad things!”
This is inevitably followed by, “Watch my expose show on Netflix” or “Buy my new expose book to get all the details” Nothing but shameless grabs at money that was never – and due to a total lack of skill or ability – could never be earned on their own. Why? They’re just not THAT remarkable. No one cares. They just can’t believe it, so they’ll dredge up all they can to create blemishes on others who CAN AND DO deserve the attention.
So I have to say, “Tell me why YOU are so damn important. Better yet, SHOW ME why you are so damn important.”
Don’t believe for a second that anyone should respect you because you’re telling stories about other people. It’s so unbelievably transparent.
Back in my Labor Relations days, I ran into this mentality almost daily. If anything should ever go wrong, all I had to do was ask, “What happened?” and I would be instantly inundated with a laundry list of infractions and alleged improprieties directed at two or three other people.
And without fail, these allegations all sprouted from the guilty party themselves.
You can never trust anyone whose explanation of ‘what happened’ consists of pointing a finger at other people. Nine times out of ten, the guilty party was the one who was truly to blame.
That should be a no-brainer, but a lot of ‘higher-ups’ took their garbage as “valid employee input that must be investigated”. Sure, let’s waste more time on pointless meetings and useless investigations instead of asking one simple question…
“Did YOU have anything to do with this problem?”
What happens when you shine light on a cockroach? It runs for cover. Guess what? The same thing happens with responsibility-shirking, five-foot-tall office cockroaches, too. It was always my experience that if you immediately called them out for their accusations, their story crumbled to the floor. And, as a pleasant consequence, the root cause of the problem was immediately found and could be immediately corrected. And that leaves an even more desirable benefit – they’re less likely to jump up and do it again if they know they might have to explain themselves.
Worse are those folks that attempt to bolster their own position and office credibility by intentionally defaming co-workers instead of proving themselves through their own work.
I never cared about these kinds of accusations because they are nothing but harmful, hurtful gossip with a malicious intent.
I always wondered how these types of people would react if they ever did get promoted because they intentionally – and falsely – defamed others up for promotion. I can’t envision any other scenario but them repeating the process but at a high corporate level. Maybe that explains the mental state and incompetence of so many executives these days.
Based on my years in management, I think it does.
On the positive side of the coin, it has likewise been proven to me, time and time again, that showing what you can do – and proving it without doubt – produces the respect and confidence that everyone seeks. Problem is, that approach takes time. The admiration is not instantaneous and some folks believe if they don’t get praise in that moment, it will never come.
So sad, but true.
The quality executives and the undisputed upper echelon in any pursuit never felt a need to tarnish those around them. They work hard for what they want and their actions speak volumes above childish finger-pointing. Their goal was never immediate admiration and respect, but it always followed them anyway. Those things grew exponentially along with work they put in.
It really is that simple.
If you can’t see any other way than blaming everyone else around you for your own failings and inadequacies, then get yourself gone. No one will have any use for you. You better head back to that third grade playground you enjoy so much.
But, if you can “Tell us why YOU are so damn important and SHOW us why YOU are so damn important” you’re going go places in this world.
If we can see it, you can bet you’ll gain all of the respect and accolades you earned for what you’ve done.
It really is that simple.
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