5 Habits of highly narcissist managers

2013/05/30

Narcissist [thesaurus] – concerned only with oneself.

Of course, there are more definitions and explanations in thesaurus to explain the word better, but let’s stick to the main definition for now.

Despite so many materials available in so many different forms, I’m really not sure why many managers can’t even pretend they are not narcissists. We always come across one manager in even a 50 member “organization” who thinks his/her word is final and no one “below” them can have any opinions that differ it. Well, more on why managers feel the need to fuel their own glorified ego’s on a daily basis in a later post, but the below are some of the habits I’ve seen many managers display consistently that earns them the right to be labeled “narcissists”, and with all due respects, I’ve probably had some of these and maybe still have some too.

There is an opinion they have formed, and that is non-negotiable – And we can only fuel it, not differ from it. I once worked with manager (peer thankfully) who carried opinions of people for more than 3 years, same opinion from the time the people joined as trainees to the time they moved on to become reviewers of others work. Sometimes, they even damn hard, real and objective results against the same.

Damn results, proximity matters – Many times, narcissist managers tend to overlook results to ensure the safety net of people in their close proximity. This happens mainly when they want to build a yes men team who would not get any smarter than them and would not be a threat to their own positions.

They generally point upwards – When managers more often tell you that something has come from upwards and we need to follow it, be rest assured that they are hinting that’s what they want you to do as well, follow their instructions since anyway it has come down the hierarchy.

Indicative behavior matters the most – Mainly the ones that satisfies their own positions in their own world. For example, do you come before them and leave after them? Do you respect them by not sitting in front of them? Do you hide your face when you meet them at the hallway to show that you are not yet prepared to meet them eye-eye? Are you sure you address them “properly” in mails?

Appreciations are hard to come by, but reprimands flow freely – Some people can hide this trait under the guise of being tough masters with sky-high expectations. Nothing wrong with that, but just that these expectations are never documented or presented to the concerned people, making them hit targets that was not shown in the first place.

So what do you think? Am I missing more from the list? Or have corporate managers really taken a turn for good and these need not apply anymore?

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The worst measure of productivity

2013/05/06

Of late, I’ve been coming across a lot of people who pride in how less they sleep. So much that, when there is a discussion around how hard they work, it always hovers around how less they sleep. And I have started to get a feeling that this is a measure of productivity for many people – hope I’m wrong here though.

While common sense would concur that this is not the best (if not the worst) measure of productivity, why would someone take pride in saying how less they sleep when the discussion is how hard they work? Is it because it is the easiest way to quantify the hard work quotient? Honestly, I have not come across any successful person talking about how many hours they sleep. In fact, I have only heard them advocating the importance of a good night’s sleep.

A better way to quantify the hard work quotient is probably how many hours we can put in at work on a weekly basis. This is holistic, gives time for all roles we need to play in life, and gives enough time for sleep. For example, I have read that Ashok Soota (co-founder of Mindtree consulting) clocks 70 hours a week at work. That is less than 50% of a week, still is a lot of work, gives enough time for all roles we want to play, and of course sleep. Needless to say, I believe he has to be highly productive given that he has been holding executive positions for more than half his lifetime, has co-founded one of the most successful companies, and at 70, has founded another company. Personally, I would like to clock not less than 55 hours at work every week – I know, I am not there yet.

So, do yourself a favor, sleep well, and if possible, take a power nap in the day. Basically, enjoy a productive life!!!


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