I love hidden camera shows, like Undercover Boss. I wish more people had an opportunity to see what others see when they are at work.
When I see photographs of myself I am always surprised, because they don’t reflect what I think I see in the mirror. I joke that I have reverse anorexia because I’m always surprised at how heavy I look in photos, when that isn’t what I see in the mirror each morning.
I think that many (if not most?) people have reverse star employee disease. They think they are a much better employee, better communicator and are more professional than they really are.
We all have excuses for why things look or sound the way they do—and those excuses are not always valid.
“My desk never normally looks like this. It’s just that we’re really busy right now.”
Is that really true? Or is it only partially true? If I were to take random photos of your desk over a monthly period would I find that today really is an anomaly, or does your desk normally look quite messy?
[ctt template=”3″ link=”jIVd9″ via=”yes” ]What are YOU like when no one is watching? Are you as good as you think you are?[/ctt]
When we make careless mistakes on a document we will often say that our careless mistakes are very rare. But, are they?
When we mumble under our breath or criticize the boss, gossip or steal a little bit of time here and there, is it as rare as we think it is, or is it just that we don’t realize how often we do or say these things?
To be sure that things really are the way you think they are, jot down on a piece of paper things that you feel are rare for you. Things such as embarrassing mistakes, being late for work, leaving early, complaining, gossiping, and other generally reputation-endangering activities.
At the end of each week, review the list and put a date beside each category that happened that week. No excuses are necessary, just a date. You don’t have to show anyone this list. You do need to be brutally honest, and 100 per cent accountable. Even if you were just one minute late because traffic was really bad, you must write it down on your list. Even if you can explain why you made an embarrassing mistake and feel that it wasn’t your fault, you still must write it down.
This is a level of accountability that most people don’t hold themselves to. When we do, we become far more aware of how often we are crossing lines we think we don’t cross very often.
Keeping a food journal is a similar activity for accountability. I’m trying to drop 10 pounds. When asked, I would say that I eat healthy and appropriate quantities of about 80 per cent of the time; yet my weight is higher than it should be. I have great excuses about how difficult it is to eat healthy when I travel, that I don’t normally snack, that I only give myself a treat every once in a while, and so on.
Then, I started keeping track of everything I put in my mouth with the Weight Watchers app. Guess what? I wasn’t eating healthy and reasonably 80 per cent of the time at all. I was thinking that snack was healthy when it wasn’t. When I started writing everything down and had to look at what I consumed each day, I realized that I have been fooling myself into believing I was eating much healthier than I really was. I believed that the amount of food I ate was a reasonable amount, yet when I had to keep track on my app, I realized that perhaps a dozen crackers wasn’t a reasonable amount.
I proved to myself that I had honestly earned those extra pounds I was carrying and, faced with the proof in black and white, I had to make some changes.
We need to do the same at work, too. Stop fooling ourselves that we are a much better employee than we really are. Stop convincing ourselves that we are better than everyone else. Stop justifying behaviour that we actually need to change.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”qZYcB” via=”yes” ]Are you being honest with yourself? Hold yourself accountable.[/ctt]
Once we know what we’re really doing, we can deal with it. And that will make us better at what we do.