I've already introduced you to the man most admired as a
boss and leader. For this life lesson we will go to the other
end of the spectrum. Normally I don't like taking a negative
approach to learning a lesson, but some lessons are easier
to understand once you've seen the dark side.
To say that Bill, not his real name, was self-centered would
be an insult to self-centered people around the world. Bill
was more than self-centered. He was totally focused on
himself. Every opportunity that came to his department
became an opportunity for Bill to be glorified. Every
accomplishment by any of his people was an
accomplishment for which Bill took full credit.
To ensure that none of his people would get the idea that
one of their successes was the result of their own work, Bill
felt it necessary to continually change the scope of projects.
Sometimes he would retain a specific piece of information
needed to reach an ultimate successful conclusion so that
he was assured nobody could present a completed project
to anyone but himself. He led through intimidation and by
making his people feel inadequate and inferior.
He saw no need to draw talent from his people, he saw
them strictly as instruments to do the legwork that he could
repackage and present it as his own work.
Sure, Bill had many good qualities. He had moved up the
ranks in a Fortune 100 because he had demonstrated the
talent to get things done. Bill taught me a lot. He knew how
to integrate goals together to increase productivity. He also
was a master at finding opportunities where employee and
suppliers could work together for charitable efforts. But for
the purposes of what we are examining here we must look
at how leaders, even those with the most giving hearts, can
evolve one area of their persona that stifles employee
We've all heard about the importance people place on,
“What's In It For Me?” The WIIFM acronym has become very
popular and can be found adorning bumper stickers,
notepads, and items generally sold to people who perceive
themselves as leaders. Unfortunately this phrase is a
poison that leads to future problems.
WIIFM was Bill’s motto. He always thought about what was
in it for him thinking that his answer would also motivate
The concept behind WIIFM is that leaders and salespeople
always consider that others are best motivated by personal
benefits. This may be very true, however it is inevitable that
the leader would turn the question on him or herself and
start focusing on their own opportunities for personal gain.
This becomes a cancer that ultimately leads to
disconnected employees and selfish managers.
A Bizerm™ is a new business term combining
two descriptive words into a single word or
phrase whose definition is often only known by
those using it. To see more terminology in the
workplace, click here.
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