Do you love talking with obnoxious know-it-alls? People that think their way is the only way? How do you like working with these people?
Yea, I don’t either.
Spend enough time contributing to the GDP, and you will run into the kind of people that I like to call “Masters of the Universe.”
These are the people that know better than the experts. They know everything. They are the idiot with all-wheel drive going 80 down a snow-covered highway. Although annoying in life, Masters of the Universe are kryptonite in your organizations.
The Master of the Universe is one of the most toxic employees in your organization:
- They will shoot down ideas that don’t align with their own thought processes, personal beliefs or agenda.
- They believe they are right and find little value in working collaboratively with others. Symptoms include: talking over others that disagree with them, mocking or ridiculing ideas they disagree with and conducting the meeting after the meeting.
- Their prior success has made them confident in the extreme of their abilities.
The last thing you want to do is put a Master Of The Universe in Charge.
Left to their own managerial devices they can wreak havoc on your organization by:
- Modeling un-cooperative and disrespectful behavior. People model what they see in leadership.
- Focusing on what they perceive as right, instead of the company strategy or what is right for the company.
- They will hire people just like them. Or worse, they will hire people with no ability to think independently.
All of this is recipe for a company culture that quickly becomes overrun with rude, arrogant individuals who care more about themselves and their turf then about the long term viability of the company.
So how can you counteract the negative effects of Masters of the Universe? Or prevent the disease?
If you are a CEO or Senior Leader in your organization:
- Model the behavior you want to see. If you want the culture of your organization to be respectful and open, hire those who act that way and quickly get rid of anyone that acts contrary to that.
- Reward the right behavior – reward teams and individuals that display the company values. If a manager is a rude, unethical jerk, promoting her to a Senior Vice President isn’t going to fix the problem and it sends the message that the rude behavior is acceptable.
- Get out of your office – have skip- level meetings with employees at all levels of the organization. When you hear complaints, investigate and follow up with employees.
If you work in HR:
- Model the behavior you want to see and challenge your business partners to do the same.
- Implement systems that provide relevant and timely performance assessment and feedback.
- Train, train and train again. You have the systems in place to assess performance, now make sure your employees and manager know how to use those systems. It isn’t enough to assume they know what to do with the data at their disposal.