Assessing people in a society of actors and hypocrites
The sorry state of this world is that social skills and lousy acting are now synonyms. Societies may be a range of social compromises, but consider the issues in any society where false is the norm. It’s a society of lies.
There’s now a situation in place where acting is considered to be the basic fact. Whatever’s said or done is considered to be an act, false or for show in some way. This is self-inflicted doublethink, and it’s a really lousy bit of logic, if not backed up with some assessment.
In fairness, many people are highly insecure in a range of social environments. The acting, dismal as it usually is, is actually an act of self-defence against untrustworthy people. There’s a degree of legitimacy in this situation.
The other type of acting is a career version, a self-promotion exercise and very much a pecking order tactic. This type of acting is aggressive, self-serving, and if it’s conspicuous, it’s also treacherous and untrustworthy by definition. The acting may be spectacularly mediocre, but it’s a predatory behaviour.
There’s a huge irony here. If any of these people were asked to do any real acting on stage or elsewhere, they’d say they couldn’t. Yet they do it on a daily basis, and don’t see a problem with that. So what’s not even theoretically a viable job is a social norm of behaviour.
The vulnerabilities of the actors are almost endless. This is a basic shopping list of areas where assessment of actors is very easy indeed:
Appearances vs. facts: The actors almost invariably leave big holes in their storylines.
Script vs. reality: Even the best salespeople run out of spiel. Unexpected, unscripted situations are lethal to actors in some cases.
Fact handling: Inevitably, the actor falls foul of facts. Like any lie, a bit of checking will find uncovered areas.
Damage control: An honest person can handle damage better than an actor. The actor has to defend and repair an artificial person and situation, not just manage real issues.
Reputation: Actors usually get a reputation of some sort, and as usual with most reputations, it’s likely to be a very negative image when the false persona is discovered. It was famously said of Bernie Madoff by a guy who’d known him for decades that the person he knew didn’t actually exist. For actors not actually in jail, that’s not a great look. In a really vicious business environment, it’s often fatal. Business people avoid risks, and actors are seen as risks.
Arousing suspicion: Actors can also self-destruct. Lack of knowledge that they’re supposed to have is a case in point. The supposed expert doesn’t know basics, doesn’t understand issues, etc.
Arguably the weakest and most untrustworthy of all people, hypocrites are typically social cowards. They avoid conflict, true, but they can be put in a position of having to make a choice between the people they’re claiming to be friends.
Socially, they’re a plague. They’re joiners, and at least closet sycophants. They infest organizations and any group will find a few of them trying to glue themselves on to it, somehow.
The tactics of the hypocrite, however, are stronger than they are. Weaklings they may be, but they’re herd-drivers. They use numbers as much as they use insider positioning. These are the areas where hypocrites are routinely underestimated.
Ironically, hypocrites are appealing to other weaklings. Their solutions make sense to fellow cowards and issue-evaders. They’re considered clever for their soft options and easy answers. The fact that these options and answers are usually wrong in substance is irrelevant. They’re seen as saviours, getting the blessing of a substandard CEO or some other failure-terrified fool for their intellect.
The intellectual capacity of hypocrites is both over and underrated. Hypocrites may be cookie cutter characters in many turgid ways, but they’re good assessors of the weaknesses of others. They know how to position themselves when others don’t, and they’re dangerous for that reason. This is their one true talent, and they usually know how to use it.
They’re not geniuses as a rule. Geniuses don’t actually need to be hypocrites. They are, however ironically, realists in several ways. Their intellects have working logic in situations where others don’t. That’s one of the reasons they often appear to be very intelligent. It’s actually application of their instincts to a problem. Their instincts solve the problem, in some cases a problem other types of thinking and mindsets can’t solve. However repulsive, it is a solution.
The hideous, fatal weakness of hypocrites, appropriately enough, is hypocrisy. The career tool becomes the suicide weapon. When stronger (or more usually angrier) people react to the hypocrisy, the thinking becomes a liability. Nobody sympathizes, least of all other hypocrites trying to get out of the disaster zone. They can be separated from the herd, and destroyed quite easily. When identified as a risk, there are usually people quite willing to help destroy them.
Don’t underestimate the hypocrite, but never trust it and don’t over value it. Hypocrites are now a cheap commodity like corn flakes. Smart CEOs use the hypocrite as a dummy, the sacrifice for sending on risky ventures. The hypocrite thinks they’ve got a real job, the CEO knows it’s a possible suicide mission. If anything goes wrong, the CEO loses nothing. If anything goes right, the crash test hypocrite is assigned another task.
Assessing a hypocrite is disturbingly easy:
Watch which way the breeze blows. The hypocrite is always the weather vane. Insider hypocrites are invariably pointed in the direction the wind will blow.
Watch who the hypocrite associates with regularly. They’re social to the point of putting skin diseases out of work, but the people they regularly do business with are the real map of what they’re doing.
Ignore the lower strata hypocrites unless they’re affiliated. They’re ingratiating scum, but not important scum.
If the hypocrite is ever so careless as to get into actual conflict with anyone, check that person out. You’ll get a GPS reference for the hypocrite’s major issues.
Assess, ignore, or destroy. Just never trust them, and they’re no threat.
More by this Author
There is a real gap between product manufacturers and the market. This is a big, serious gap. Nowhere is it bigger than between the customer base and product management. The Blue Chip customers are the experts....
From my book, The Good Manager, published on lulu.com Paul Wallis The Good Manager Who do you think you are? The management culture, and how to avoid it Respect is a verb Business intelligence networks Ad hoc...
In the recruitment industry, the current thing is cultural fit. This has become a cause celebre among recruitment experts, and is also very popular among employers, judging from the amount of space the idea is getting...
No comments yet.