I read a thought provoking post last week written by a lady called Ani O’Brien on her A Soap-Box Manifesto blog. It was about whether we should expect Miley Cyrus to be a role model for young girls. There’s been a lot of public debate about that and Ani argued persuasively that we shouldn’t, and that Miley has a right to express her sexuality any way she wishes. Much to my surprise, I realised I have no argument with that.
I say “much to my surprise” because it made me think. Let’s be honest, I’m a middle-aged man so why should I even care? And if it’s not about the overt sexuality, why is it that I have such a problem with Miley Cyrus and people like her?
I have teenage children so Hannah Montana was a staple in our house a few years back. Even then she irritated the hell out of me.
Miley was a bit of a screecher it seemed to me, like many of these teenage kids show stars. Someone who had been taught that the person who spoke the loudest got the biggest canned laugh. Someone growing up in the public eye that, like her father before her, appeared to have got a little bit lucky and made an arguably modest talent go a long way. A one trick pony.
Now I’m not knocking that. Good luck to her and the hundreds of other Bieberesque You Tubing wannabes that pollute our airwaves with their formulaic manufactured trash and “dance” moves. I’m not the target audience so I don’t have to like it or listen to it.
No, what irritates me is that Miley’s recent behaviour smacks of attention seeking of the highest order. “Look at me, I’m famous and credible, I don’t give a shit and I’m getting what I want, I’m all grown up and I know what’s best. I’m the manipulator not the manipulated. Deal with it.”
And why that irritates me is because we see lots of people like this in the workplace. If you work in HR you will instantly recognise them.
“Look at me, I deserve the highest performance rating, there’s no one better, I want a big pay rise – NOW, I want that promotion, I DESERVE the bonus, I want, I’m entitled, give, give, give or I’m out of here. Deal with it.”
You know what? I am yet to come across anyone like that who was even half as good as they thought they were. Think about the people you’ve worked with in your career and I guarantee if you named your top ten performers they would all, without exception, be unassuming, modest, mature, self effacing, self aware, self deprecating, hard working high achievers. They just do it and don’t associate success with public recognition. They are the polar opposites of your workplace Mileys.
They don’t need to scream “look at me – I’m good” – their results, conduct and workplace relationships speak for themselves. They don’t polarise opinion.
They deliver far more than they ever demand or expect in return. And they don’t shout it from the rooftops or twerk their way to the attention of the whole company at the Christmas party. They are consistent, stable and trustworthy. They respond to feedback, not get defensive and go on the attack. Or just ignore it.
These people are the real work stars. They are the ones that get shit done and are still doing it while the twerkers are down the pub congratulating themselves on the success of a project that in truth they had little impact on.
Give me a star worker over a star twerker any day of the week.