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by James Waldroop Ph.D.
and Timothy Butler Ph.D.

Directors of MBA Career Development at the Harvard Business School. Twenty years relevant experience. Business Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Executive Coaches to many Fortune 500 companies, helping individuals work to their highest level of potential.

Ch. 5: The Self-interested Bulldozer

FAILURE BEHAVIOR 5: RUNNING ROUGHSHOD OVER THE OPPOSITION. You, the self-interested bulldozer, (almost always it's a man) see your world, and every interaction in it, whether with a colleague, a vendor, a manager or a customer, as an adversarial, zero-sum, win-lose - even winner-take-all, dog-eat-dog - contest. You, a mini-Stalin, know no empathy - you cannot understand how other people think and feel. You run roughshod over them. You focus your hyper-aggressive, bully conduct on solving all problems by crushing them with brute force. You play a raw, Darwinian, red-in-tooth-and-claw game.

Business draws many bulldozers.

IDENTIFY IT: Easy. Your mistrustful paranoid view of the world, your attitude of 'I'll do him before he does me' and your norm of treating other people as if they too are all bulldozers is plain to see and hear. Even though your 'pit-bull' behavior failures may vary in severity and frequency.

FIX IT: Simple, but not easy. The cure requires intervention. You can not fix it yourself. Your colleagues, probably working with a counselor, confront you as a group and denounce your behavior mercilessly and with contempt. You must follow through with a willingness on your part to face your affliction and reform. For severe cases, you require professional counseling - almost addiction therapy. You then apologize individually to all colleagues you have previously abused. In doing this, frequency creates comfort, practice brings you understanding - even empathy.

BENEFIT: The bulldozer is very powerful. Do everything you can to fix this guy rather than fire him. Manage him properly, point him in the right direction and he will move mountains.  He has that rare and valuable attribute - his relentless, determined, straight-ahead drive. But he must learn when to switch it on and turn it off. Self-control is the key. Have him find a colleague who will tell him bluntly whenever he gets out of line again. Then he becomes an extraordinarily effective, higher performance person.

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Ch. 6: The Eternal Rebel

FAILURE BEHAVIOR 6: REBEL LOOKING FOR A CAUSE. Your default setting is abrasive, attention-seeking, confrontational opposition, defying authority, custom, tradition and good taste. Your goal is attention; your weapon brutal honesty. You are a rebellious crusader seeking not change or responsibility but to expose the hypocrites, enlighten the ignorant, to stand up and speak the truth and, in so doing, to get the attention you crave.

IDENTIFY IT: This pattern of behavior shows always or intermittently, passively or actively. It's there in all of us. There are always times when the right thing to do is to stand up against those in authority. We all need to rebel occasionally - but not constantly. It's the pattern that's your problem.

FIX IT: Difficult. You're an adult but inside you're stuck in adolescence, fighting to make yourself seen, to prove to yourself that you're different from the people around you, still struggling for an acceptable sense of self, still feeling the need to rebel.

To alter your behavior you must act before it's too late; your manager (or better still a skilled counselor) needs to confront you with your rebelliousness; have you observe the norms of dress, behavior and interaction among our people; then have you do as we do and, finally, find out from you why you feel trapped in your state of rebellion. Probably the cause is ten, twenty, thirty years in your past. So much of this is personal and psychological that you may best take professional counseling.

BENEFIT: If your company views you as brilliant and it's a company that tolerates your kind of behavior you may be worth keeping. When your value as a  higher performance person exceeds your cost of maintenance.

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