By Bobby Brown
Ashwin Willemse has just touched a raw nerve by walking off the SuperSport set, while accusing Naas Botha and Nick Mallet of undermining and patronising him. This is a topic fraught with nuance and ill-intent that is difficult to identify, easy to deny and impossible to prove.
It is prevalent in the workplace, but almost never obvious.
And that’s because it comes wrapped in an air of misplaced intellectual superiority; disguised in years of experience that the speaker peddles and makes sure to slip into conversation subtly.
And often not so subtly!
To appear fair (or appease their guilty conscience), they toss you a bone every now and again with the occasional compliment, spiking your serotonin. And soon you’re craving more. You have just become hooked on a powerful drug – approval!
Of course you know that you’re good (even excellent) at what you do, but the compliments are just rare enough to make you doubt yourself … ever so slightly. This erosion of self-confidence happens slowly at first, and before you know it, it’s all you have.
By only sometimes being told indirectly that you are good, but not quite good enough to be as expert as they are on the subject at hand, you essentially hit a glass ceiling.
And it doesn’t matter how long you may have been practicing your craft, that person will always make it known to you that they know much more than you do; and that you could never really know as much as they do.
It is a corporate power dynamic that keeps certain people in their place and tempers any designs you may have for growth and progress.
It is seldom, if ever direct! And in fact, it may even appear that they like and respect you. But only for as long as you understand that they are superior to you … and that their “wisdom” holds sway over yours.
This destroys not only self-confidence, but also loyalty; turns a passion into a job; makes people feel helpless and eventually listless and defeated. At times, their frustration comes out in destructive ways, which of course just serves as proof of their supposed inferiority.
But it’s not just an individual loss of confidence that occurs. This dynamic also squanders exceptional talent; talent that could’ve resulted in a company soaring to new heights.
It may just have meant the difference between corporate brilliance and corporate mediocrity. And all because egos are easily bruised (and threatened) by aptitude.
And that really is the crux of this grey area that defies exact definition. These victims of power are undermined simply because they have a natural talent for something that others may have had to study for many years to master. And because they studied it and have degrees to prove their supposed intelligence, they end up in positions of power, given to them by other people with degrees and sensitive egos.
Making themselves the sole of purveyor of wisdom, they have constructed a kingdom where they have the final word that may not be questioned or opposed.
They intimidate, because they themselves are intimidated.
By your natural flair.
Source: Copied from the wall of Bobby Brown
Video: If you have not seen the video that this article relates to, check it out HERE!