Being the bad guy at work

Are you one of those people who actually prefers the bad guy in movies or books? There’s a reason so many people actually find the villain more appealing and entertaining than the hero even if we do still want good to win out over evil after all. I was pondering this thought earlier today when one of my staff called me evil. Was that actually a good thing? (I’m just kidding by the way)


I think part of the reason most of us love a bad guy is because we can identify with aspects of our own personality that sometimes we’d love to be able to reveal, but in order to be part of an orderly and polite society, we most often don’t. (And again, just for the record I’m not suggesting the REALLY evil bad guys here like the puppet guy in Saw or anything) But in general terms, often being bad is actually fun, which is why so many kids do naughty things.


What’s interesting is how liking the bad guy doesn’t translate to real life. We recognize that he has a role to play when it comes to fiction, but being the bad guy at work is completely shied away from, except for office bullies of course. What I mean by being the bad guy in this sense is making the right or difficult decision when you know it will probably be unpopular.


It’s noted that at work, you often need to be assertive, strong willed and at times even provocative to make things happen and instigate change that you know is certainly necessary for the good of the company or your department, but these types of decisions are often unpopular and do result in people being brandished the bad guy.


In these types of circumstances, the key to pulling off your bad guy persona, and possibly even being liked for it, is to make sure your opinions and decisions are legitimately linked to the best interests of the company, or your team. Make sure you can substantiate what you’re saying or proposing with resulting scenarios that impact that involve more than just yourself.

And sometimes it can even just come down to a matter of how you say something as opposed to what it is that you’re saying. If you’re worried that something you want to bring up may result in you being seen in a negative light, it doesn’t hurt to actually practice the conversation you want to have prior to having it. And what a lovely link back to my opening about villains in the movies. If all your practice of your “bad guy” conversations doesn’t pay off at work, maybe you have the start of a film career on your hands!  

Posted by Charles Tarbey on 20/10/2009 at 5:09 PM | Categories:


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