Suck up or self monitoring?

August 4, 2010 at 8:18 am Leave a comment

I often think about suck up’s in the office. I find these folks ridiculous.  It is my belief that one moves forward professionally based on skills and talents, not on how much you can butter people, hang on their every day, agree with everything they say, and basically do their job for them. Boot lickers. Suck ups. Brown nosers. Whatever you want to call them, I abhor it.  And I am not capable of doing it.

However, an article in Bloomberg’s Business Week in June discussed the concept of high self monitors, or those persons who are adaptable to social systems. They even used the word chameleon.  To me, suck ups to adapt to each person, but I do not think they refer to the same thing.   High self-monitors adapt to fit the situation. They are still themselves, but more understanding of the behaviors, attitudes, personalities, linguistic level, etc.  The key, again, is they are still themselves, not a mini me of the person they are with. One experiment they discuss is a person shaking her leg and without realizing it, high self monitors will begin to do the same.

There are some that are natural self-monitors.  The article indicated Bill Clinton and Oprah.  I will let you be the judge if you agree or agree not.  At times, I have considered myself this way. I have learned how to get along with just about anyone due to all the moving I did growing up. I never thought moving around was beneficial at the time, but as I have gotten older, I have seen how this knowledge became a part of me that I never knew existed.  I have worked with many companies and have been told on more than one occasion that it has felt like I have been a part of the team forever and not just started working there a few months ago.  Why is this?

The article goes on to say that there are ways those that are not naturally high self-monitors can learn this.  First, be vulnerable. This, as you know from many prior posts, is the key to leadership but also to life in my opinion.  In this case, just sharing a treasured memory can be seen as vulnerability because it has great meaning to you and you have allowed another to share in this.  Sure beats talk about the weather.  Another option is proximity. If your office is in the corner, by the windows because you liked the view, consider the disadvantage you have in not being more in the thick of things with others on your team.  How do you create more connection when you are away from them like that?  And lastly, if you know of someone who you see as a high self-monitor, spend a bit more time with them.  What they do can be contagious!

Suck up’s take note – being a mini-me will only get you so far.

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Entry filed under: Books, Miscellania, Relationships, research, thoughts, weather, Who is?, workplace. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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