Monday, May 18, 2009

Don't be THAT Guy...

There is a very talented guy that works for my company. I will even go as far as saying that this guy is a star performer and that I respect and trust him. However, this gentleman is not invited to meetings, people don't share information with him and some folks joke about him behind his back. This guy is the victim of a self-inflicted wound. He doesn't understand the rules of the game. Here is some advice on how not to become that guy:

It's Not ALL About Business - people come to work not just to make a living. They also want to have fun while they are in the office. They want to enjoy the company of their colleagues, and they want the work environment to be a pleasant one. If people expect a fight every time you enter the room, you are well on your way to becoming THAT guy.

Give Ground - even if you can take the whole pie (so to speak), it is not a good idea to do so. Winning is good, but humiliating the other guy and making him cry uncle is only good if you are trying hard to make enemies. A true master knows how to get everything he needs while letting everyone around the table feel like they have made a contribution and have won some concessions. If folks constantly have to admit that you are smarter and that your proposal is the best one, look in the mirror, you are THAT guy.

Let Others Talk - don't you just hate it when people don't let you finish a sentence? I have to admit, I do that much more than I want to, but I am trying really hard to kick this filthy habit. Raising your voice to drown out the opposition is not a very effective way to get your point across. In this case I have to say that I am a little bit of THAT guy.

Not All Battles Are Worth Fighting - a smooth operator picks his battles. He let's many small things go wrong (at least from his point of view). He let's people make mistakes and he does not insist on getting things just right. However, he fights like a lion (a polite lion) to make sure that no big mistakes are made. If you think that every battle is worth fighting, you are most definitely THAT guy.

We all have some symptoms of the THAT guy syndrome, the question is always a matter of degree. Most of us have only a minor case of THAT guyness, but over the years, I have seen a number of very talented people sabotage their careers by failing to understand the rules of the game and becoming THAT guy in the organization. Once you are THAT guy, it is not always possible to salvage the situation.  

Here are some other job and career related posts that you may like:

Fire Finance got laid-off. There's a lot of that going around these days. Two of my friends also lost their jobs over the past couple of weeks.

This is an older post, but I really liked it: Be Wealthy, Get Happy has a post titled Never Move for Money

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Rob Bennett said...

That's an important post.

A lot of human behavior is intuitive rather than thought out logically. People intuitively know that there is a reason when a fellow or gal needs to win all the battles. The reason is something other than self-confidence.

You make an especially important point when you note that we are all That Guy at times. That's because we all have insecurities.


FB @ said...

I am definitely that girl that finishes others' sentences

But only because I know my BF is searching for the word in English!!!

I have to smack myself to shut up and let him talk. So far, not working well...

Doctor S said...

Ah Yes that guy! It is true we all reflect "that guy" qualities at some point or time. But those people that practice that guy-ology all the time are the people that we alienate in the office and talk behind their backs. It is great that we can point out these people but can people admit it when they are that person? Whole other story there. Good post.

Shadox said...

Doctor S - That's a great question and I don't have the answer, except to say that I try to be as self aware as possible. It's always tough to see your own mistakes and short comings.

FB - I would say that recognizing our own shortcomings is the first step to overcoming them... way to go on taking the first step... :-)

Keith@bewealthygethappy said...

I'm glad you like my post on not moving for money - it was a painful experience that I hope other people can learn from.

As for 'that guy' the only thing I have to add to the topic is if you don't know who he is in your office, then it's you!

Shadox said...

Keith - absolutely. It's just like a poker game... :-)