Remember when you were at school, and there was always that one friend who seemed absolutely wonderful, but was actually undermining you on a constant basis behind your back? You probably defended them to the death, until one day it hit home that they really were a bad egg, so to speak, and so you sought out other friends – people of worth who would catch you when you fell – rather than secretly sawing through the rungs of your ladder.
Sadly I still see, on a daily basis, this same schoolyard mindset prevalent in the corporate community. I see the ladder kickers and the not-so-secret whisperers.
It is the mindset of undermining each other. And it frightens me, because in this day and age – when collaborative and diverse thinking should be key not only to success, but to personal growth – business women and men are still thinking ‘this is my dance space – and if you step on my toes, or I perceive that you are stepping on my toes, then I will step back. Harder.’
This is not the path forward. People who are still operating like this – as if we were still stuck in the ‘greed is good’ message of the 80s – are not only acting with dishonesty, they are doing themselves a huge disservice. This is a path of mistrust, a lack of transparency, belittling – and often it is a pre-emptive strike out of fear that someone else may achieve something in the same sphere and take away from their own success.
My message is simple.
Do not let people who are unwilling to walk the talk – to truly support your endeavours – into your circle of influence and guidance.
Seek out those women and men of worth who truly want to work with you in an honest and collaborative way. Who realise the power of sharing ideas. Of coming together. Of connecting and sharing – and value-adding to each other’s businesses through the power of plural perspectives.
It takes strength of character and an ability to put aside petty fears of ‘but they may do better than me’. And that is exactly why you should hold onto and nurture those who have that innate ability to see the bigger picture, to visualise shared success.
Don’t be the person passing notes behind your best friend’s back.
Be the person who finds the note, rips it up and says ‘That’s not the way things work.’
Strength, honesty and authenticity.
Clarity, connection and collaboration.
Walking the talk for mutual success.