Friend and former boss, Jeff Hilimire, has been doing blind posts for a long time. In them, he rips a headline from the news and, without reading the article, writes his own post on the topic. I’ve always thought this was a neat idea, and have finally decided to give it a try myself.
During my daily reads, I stumbled on“10 Ways People Should Never Describe You” from Inc. magazine and decided to give it a whirl. It was insanely hard to not look ahead!
Here it is, in no particular order. Think of it this way, if somebody were to have a conversation with a colleague about you without you there, these are among the words and phrases I’d consider least flattering … and why.
- Rigid. This seems like it could be a positive at first blush. But if you’re being called rigid in business today, it’s the equivalent of being a binder clip in a jar of rubber bands, unable to bend and flex with the changing times. And boy, being agile is a skill, isn’t it? Rigid…not so much.
- Impulsive. There is being quick to react to things — deciding to make a key hire, putting out a fire, rescuing a little girl from a well — and then there is impulsivity, which generally implies a broken ability for measured reaction. Swift action is good in a technology-led marketplace; it is not OK to do so impulsively.
- Cynical. Nobody wants to think they’re that person, do they? The one that can’t see the upside in anything. I call myself Worst Case Scenario Wendy when I behave that way — quick to assess a situation down to its worst possible outcome. In business, a dose of skepticism is good. Being endlessly suspicious of every one and everything is demotivating.
- Non-Confrontational. I’ve called this one out before. In summary: I consider this trait one of the biggest marks of an ineffective leader. It transmutes into an unwillingness to make progress, to create healthy debate and to challenge decisions.
- Passive Aggressive. This seems to dovetail nicely with being non-confrontational. Not being willing to confront people directly leads those-with-baggage to take it out undercover, quietly…indirectly. This isn’t good for the offender or the offended. Nobody wins. And it’s just juvenile.
- Mean. When I was just entering the workforce, I had a boss yell at me about an error I made in a design until I burst into tears. His follow up was to scream, “Don’t f—-ing cry you baby!” Do I need to say anything else? Don’t be that person.
- Yes Person. Don’t confuse this with agreeable and willing. “Yes people” never say no. They lack self-respect and confidence. They might as well knit themselves a sweater that says “DOORMAT” because that’s how everyone will see them.
- Lazy. I can’t imagine anything more offensive. In fact, I once had a supervisor passive aggressively tell a coworker this about me. It haunts me to this day. I’m not, damn it. To be defined this way is like a whole bunch of horrible character traits all rolled in one — reluctant to take on challenges, too soft to put in a hard day’s work, not a team player. We should all strive to never be defined this way.
- Pouty. We don’t always get our way, being pouty about it sucks for everyone surrounding the rejected. I have always wondered if these people were given everything they wanted as kids. This isn’t a play date: get over it. Even better: learn from it.
- Manipulative. Worse than the pouter is the manipulator. Quietly aggressive, they must have their way, so they recruit their darkest magic to win over the weak first, and then work their way up. They make everyone uneasy, inviting fear and self-doubt until their targets give in. We all know one — nobody wants to be one.