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Are You A Business Superhero?

Updated on August 25, 2010

How does one fall into such a state of Superheroism? It all starts when you open your first small business. You're in charge. You have a crew that depends on you. You can't let them down. People follow you when they feel you value them. What are some characteristics of business leaders that tend to make people feel unappreciated?


This boss believes they need to be good at everything. They will bluff if they can't do something or fudge the rules to get the job done. They tend to be perfectionists and very critical of other people's work.

Employee Reaction: Workers tend to give up when under this leadership. They become unmotivated because they believe they aren't needed.


This person will throw out an entire idea, even if only one aspect appears wrong. Usually if this person asks an employee to do a specific job, they will re-do the entire project after the employee hands it in.

Employee Reaction: They usually don't like their boss and they usually perform at a lower level because they know the work they do won't be used anyway.


This person will do anything or make any sacrifice to get the job done. In the end they create more work for themselves and take on everything.

Employee Reaction: This type of management promotes irresponsibility in workers and lack of employee-initiative. Workers won't strive to take on more work because their boss is doing it all.


Impersonal is the word to describe this leader. They won't ever talk about their personal life. They act very similar to a robot.

Employee Reaction: This mechanical attitude doesn't go over well, since people are emotional and mental creatures. Workers tend to feel distant and tense around their boss.


(a.k.a. Control Freak) This is when a boss feels like he or she needs to control people and becomes overbearing.

Employee Reaction: People tend to walk on eggshells around these people, just waiting to be reprimanded or told what to do.


An accurate description of this boss is one who always needs to get the accolades. If someone else does the job well, this boss will take the credit for that work.

Employee Reaction: Again, this will promote lack of motivation in employees, because their work achievements are never recognized.

If the previous descriptions sound like people you know, or even yourself, there is a good reason for it. The root of the Superman Complex stems from America's culture. Life is about success and achievement, that is the 'American Dream' in action. As challenges become more severe, Superman Complex people tend to put more pressure on themselves to achieve more. They tend to isolate themselves from the true solution, which is depending on other people.

While there is nothing wrong with achievement and success, some people just go about in a way that places unneeded and unwanted stress on themselves and others. People are following a model they were taught when they were young. They want to be important in America, but when that becomes their sole reason for being, then they become afraid of not being Superman. The sadness with this is they don't have a chance to heal.

The problem with this management strategy is that it doesn't piece workers together like puzzles to make one great whole. Instead, it asks employees to cover their weaknesses instead of using others to balance them out and leverage the strengths.

The job of teaching one's self to act differently takes some time, however, it makes you more accountable and allows your staff to observe your changes. Make an announcement to your staff about what is going to change.

How can you change to make employees feel more valued and start to use their strengths?

Try some of these:

  • Shrug twice a day.
  • Admit when you are wrong.
  • Apologize when you are wrong.
  • Let someone else drive the car.
  • Drive in the slow lane.
  • Let someone else pick the restaurant.
  • Let someone ahead of you in line.
  • Listen more, talk less and laugh often.

Another tactic is to write a résumé for your personal life and one for your business life. The biggest thing with the Superman Complex is you are always hiding yourself. Dishonesty is great to have out of your life, and you don't have to lower your goals, just change how you achieve your goals.


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    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

      Oh I agree fully. These are very much life lessons as well as they are business lessons! Thanks!

    • profile image

      soumyasrajan 7 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Nice one Hal! Very nice collection. One does not have to be a businessman or super one to have these quality and/or learn to have them. Any one who wants to live a good life, learn a lot, do a lot and be a nice and pleasant human being has to have these.