Help! I’m a Jerk but I Don’t Want to Be
I have a problem, and it is me. I have always been opinionated, compulsively sharing unfiltered truths.
The problem comes in my various board and volunteer roles. I approach these meetings as though I’m trying to stick it to the man. In a meeting, I said, “Since it seems I’m the only person in the room who has closely read the budget, I want to say that this proposal will add a position at a time when our organization is in crisis and there is no plan to pay for it.”
It was all true, and a year or so later, the organization did face a financial crisis that resulted in furloughs and layoffs. I was right. However, everyone thinks I’m an ass, even if I’m an ass who read the budget and told the truth.
I need help with managing my reaction to a feeling that there is a truth not being shared, and communicating the truth that will be helpful to the decision-making process in a way that doesn’t point out that I’ve done work that other people haven’t. How can I create consequences and/or incentives to help me do this?
— Julie, Baltimore
I love being right. It’s a great feeling. You clearly enjoy that feeling too. While there is nothing wrong with confidence and competence, there is something wrong with constantly feeling the need to demonstrate superiority at the expense of others. I urge you to divest yourself from liking being right more than doing the right thing or being collegial. There are ways to point out truths that don’t involve shaming people
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