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King John’s Not-So-Hidden Motivations October 21, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Life Balance, People, Spirit & Ego.
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As it turns out, Cindy’s “premonition” of a Part 2 to Robin Hood & The Green-Eyed Monster was correct (though a Part 2 was not under consideration when I penned the initial post).  

Nice one, Cin!

* * * * * 

We see the world behind our eyes.  It is difficult to step into the shoes of another and understand WHY they turned out as they did, and WHY they are motivated to act as they do.  

I certainly don’t understand someone like King John.  How could I?  He believed he had a divine right to rule others.  I certainly have no experience in that realm.

But even when we don’t understand what “makes someone tick,” we can often see the “immediate” motivation for specific actions and decisions they make.

Watching Robin Hood, it became clear that King John wanted all eyes pointed in HIS direction. 

He didn’t care whether people loved him, or feared him, as long as they hung on his every word.  When Robin Hood garnered too much attention, albeit unwittingly, King John grew jealous and declared him an outlaw of the realm.  Instead of rewarding Robin for his efforts (made on the King’s behalf), he punished Robin for performing above and beyond the call of duty.  

Likewise, we may have no idea WHY a supervisor places the need for admiration above the good of the department as a whole, but it won’t take long for team members to see that that is, in fact, what is happening.

The words, actions, and demeanor of narcissistic leaders clue us in to the truth:  the “King Johns” of the world don’t want “superstars” working for them. 

Narcissists are unable to share the limelight without succumbing to envy and fits of jealous rage. 

So, what happens?

Team members learn NOT to draw attention to themselves.  They stop living up to their full potential.  They learn to “tone it down” ~ to do enough to satisfy “King John” without incurring his wrath.

After a few bumps and bruises sustained during “run ins” with a narcissistic boss, team members remember to hide their light under a rock to make “King John’s” light appear brighter.  They make sure that the spotlight is ALWAYS aimed in his direction, and they quickly hand him the microphone while fading into the background.

In time, the envy and jealous rage of narcissistic leaders affects the bottom line.  As team members tone down their efforts, the team as a whole suffers.  No one is willing to draw attention to themselves by striving to do their best.  The team’s reputation with clients and competitors becomes tarnished.

To stay in business, a new leader must take the helm or “King John” must  change his leadership style. 

Under leadership that encourages everyone to put their best foot forward, the team is more likely to reach its full potential.  Everyone pulls together as one, focusing on the good of the team as a whole.   Team members play to each other’s strengths and delegate work accordingly. 

Everyone shares the spotlight and reaps the rewards.