“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
– Albert Einstein –
I find a lot of truth in this quote. I have seen it play out in the workplace time and time again. Sometimes it’s a manager who feels threatened by a member of their own team. This is especially devastating because the manager has the ultimate power to take actions that affect compensation, work assignments and even employment.
I have also seen situations where co-workers actively create a negative campaign of trash talk, gossip and lies in an effort to discredit someone who is excelling. They try to force people to choose sides in some secret (or not so secret) war. It’s divisive and it crushes individual and team performance.
What most people miss is that in the end, their behavior does more harm to their credibility and reputation than to the targets of their negative attention. It’s impossible for you to try to hold another person down without also holding yourself down. While your efforts to malign another might work in the short-term, it almost always comes to light at some point and you are left to account for your actions.
It takes a secure leader to allow a subordinate to shine and to truly celebrate a co-workers success. Do a quick check up on your relationships to see if there are ways you could better support the people you work with. Could someone on your team use more responsibility to grow and reach their potential? Has someone had a success that you have yet to recognize?
And if you are that “great spirit” that Einstein refers to who is fighting “mediocre minds”, don’t give up hope. Stay true to your values and resist getting sucked into the drama. Address negative behavior directly and never lower yourself to engage in someone else’s petty games. Your integrity and character are worth more than the short term high of winning the game.
What do you think?
Your comments are appreciated and please share this post if you found it helpful to you.