I have been reading and talking about leadership, management and good people skills for the last two years. I’ve followed the likes of Seth Godin and Oliver Blanchard, I’ve even emailed both of them (and they emailed me back.) I read the Harvard Business Review, Forbes and Inc. I watch Ted Talks. I read a few futurists and listen to several podcasts on these topics.
They all, in one way or the other say the same things. Creativity matters, lead people don’t manage process, think out side of the box and work to solve your customer’s problems not your businesses.
Articles like 10 Reasons Your Top Talent Will Leave You, 8 Qualities of Remarkable Employees or quotes like:
The most important thing for the creative innovator is not a ton of tasks to do but rather the ability to see what’s important to focus on and to focus on that deeply. The creative innovator needs to go deep on a feature or issue, and the deeper they go the more creativity they unleash … thus creating lots of value to the end user.
Dave Lee, GTD sucks for creative work (Getting Things Done)
However, none of these blogs, lists or quotes come with the proper disclaimer. “Results not typical” would suffice. At the very least there should be some sort of warning that if you work for incompetent, capitulating immature
leaders managers; while all this good advice will help you be a better person, a better employee, a better leader, it doesn’t help you pack up the contents of your desk and turn in your key card.
I should have been warned, that if I was going to try to grow and mature my position and department, or work to be more effective and better at my craft that it might have adverse outcomes. I should have been told to take a look around me, assess my company’s culture, look at my boss and his boss and ask: “Do they really want remarkable, smart, creative employees?”
The answer was of course, NO!
But in ignorance, not having asked the right questions and pondered the possibility that my leader might not want the exceptional, I pressed on.
Our leadership team should have come with a warning label that read something like this:
The pursuit of excellence, intelligence or your own ideas my cause Nausea, Vertigo, Dizziness, Tingling in extremities, Loss of balance or coordination, Slurred speech, Halitosis, Alcoholism, Temporary blindness, Profuse swearing, Heart palpitations, Insanity, Thoughts of Suicide, Death or Termination of Position.
A senior executive once told me that I was what Malcolm Gladwell called an Outlier.
My mistake was thinking it was a compliment.