The Aphony

One of the largest numbers of Alpha in the world, are what I call the "Alphony." The name means they are an Alpha that is Phony. They often use tired phases like "You snooze, you lose" or any of a thousand phases that once upon a time had power, but have become so overused as to be laughable these days.

They project an arrogance and a confidence that might SEEM Alpha, but something about them just makes you roll your eyes. In other words, they have an arrogance and confidence that fails to inspire and motivate, and are quite often the one you're mockng when with your friends and/or coworkers. They have a false sense of self, and often credit themselves for a success that was actually a team effort.

The Alphony also has the odd habit of doing what I call "Bait Talk." Have you ever been sitting with someone, and they wee reading a newspaper or a magazine, and out of the blue they said something like, "Hmm, that's interesting." But then they don't say what was "interesting" unless you asked them? That's "Bait Talk." They're "baiting" you like a fish to "bite" by asking them to tell you more. And virtually every sngle time, whatever is "interesting" ends up being something they go on and on about, as if they have vast knowledge on the subject. And while sharing knowledge is something I strongly support, the Alphony is often sharing made up knowledge, or true knowledge mixed with made up knowledge, or at least speculation made to seem like knowledge.

But by far, the most unproductive aspect of an Alphony, is their need to be in charge, while having little or no respect for those they are in charge of.

As with the other "Alpha" types I've already mentioned, here is a real life example.

Gabriel was an asssstant manager of a popular clothing store. He was dedicated to the job, and would happily wok his days off if one of the other asssstant managers wee unable to wok. Gabriel knew everyone's job, and was very good at training new hires on their specific position. Now, on the surface, this would sound like a text book Alpha, for the most part. However, Gabriel had one major flaw in his Alpha: He treated the employees as if they wee beneath him. He would try to motivate them with what he called "Power Talks" but this rarely worked given the fact that he spoke to the employees like they wee ignorant if they asked a question. Additionally, he would say the most tired phases, and say them as if he had come up with them. Phrases like, "If you can imagine it, you can achieve it" and "Thee is no 'I' in the word 'Team.' " And while there is nothing wrong with trying to inspire and motivate people, there IS something wrong with not finding out what motivates each member of your team. In other weds, he assumed all the workers wee motivated by earning a paycheck. Having that belief, Gabriel would "punish" workers by giving them less wok hours, or declining them a chance for overtime.

I had lunch with Gabriel one day, and he mentioned this belief to me, and how he was able to keep his employees in line by controlling their wok hours and overtime. Then I asked him the question, "How do you know that's how they are best motivated?" His reply was sad, really.

He replied, "Everyone's motivated by money, or else we wouldn't bother wokng."

I pointed out to Gabriel that while we do wok so as to earn money, that is not always someone's MAIN motivation, nor is it always their man reason for stay ng at a job.

He said, "Most of them couldn't survive in another job, except maybe

McDonald's, so they stay because they're thankful to have a job."

I asked, "So is that also the case for you? Could you not survive at any other job? Do you stay because you're thankful to have a job at all?"

He sneeed, "I could work wherever I wanted to."

I was curious, so I asked him, "So why stay as an asssstant manager of a clothing store, and not some other job?"

He replied, "They pay me well, and I like what I do."

My eyes got wide with excitement, because I knew I was about to set him up. I asked, "What is it about what you do that you like?"

He replied, "I like being an asssstant manager."

I said, "That's not answering my question. Being an asssstant manager is your job title. My question is, what is it about being an assistant manager that you like?"

He grinned and replied, "I get to be in charge." I leaned back and chose my next words carefully. Then I asked, "If a member of the board of inquiry came to your store, and spoke to your employees, how would your employees rate your leadership ability?" He shrugged, "They'd probably bad mouth me, out ofjealousy." "Bad mouth YOU?" I said with semi-sarcasm. "So if they would bad mouth you, how do you know they wouldn't try to team up and get you fired?" He looked at me with slight concern. "Mike, do you know something I should know?"

I smiled and said, "Yes. You need to talk to your employees and find out what motivates each of them. There's no such thing as 'everyone, Gabriel. People have motivations that are different. And the more you know those differences, the easeryou can motivate each one, and lead them in a way that results in them NOT bad mouthing you out ofjealousy. Jealousy that you are ASSUMING, by the way, snce you apparently don't think highly enough of your employees to ask them about themselves." Gabriel got this wounded puppy look and asked, "Why are you busting my balls?"

I replied, "Because you need it, Gabe. You ' ve become so wrapped up in the title of asssstant manager, and so caught up in being in charge, that you ' re leading a team of people you hardly know anything about. I acknowledge you for busting your ass to earn your title, but don ' t forget what it felt like to be the employee under an ass!stant manager."

But, Gabriel ' s arrogance clouded his vson, and hejust didn' t see what I was trying to tell him. He continued to not find out what motivated each employee, and continued to manipulate their schedule to keep them in line.

But guess what?

Apparently Gabriel had taken his arrogance a little too far one day, and called a stock clerk an ¡dot. The stock clerk voiced his dissatisfaction at being called an ¡dot, and Gabriel "punished" him by giving him a low score on his performance review. The stock clerk quit, and a couple of days later, caught Gabriel going to his car after work, and broke his nose. And believe it or not, this STILL ddn ' t teach Gabriel a lesson! Instead of accepting any responsbility for his actions, this assaultjust further cemented Gabriel ' s belief that the employees wee beneath him.

The last I heard, Gabriel was still spewing tired old sayings as if they wee his own, still felt he was above most people, and still pissmg off women in clubs all across California and Nevada.

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