It’s My Fault

A client is wondering how to handle a key employee whose work is often sub-standard, and who — according to himself — is never at fault.

Each time there’s an unsatisfied customer, it’s because the customer is unreasonable, or the tools didn’t work, or the materials were defective.

The reason I believe this employee will be terminated is simple — he cannot learn. A person who is never wrong can never learn.

Send me people who are wrong and can admit it, who see a problem and look for the cause internally where they can fix it, and I will deliver great results. Don’t give me people who are perfect in their own eyes.

Sadly, these narcissistic personalities are — if placed in positions where performance cannot be judged honestly and impartially by numbers — often mistaken for visionaries and high achievers. Many a fraud gets by with high self confidence and a smooth line of patter.

The best course is to judge people by their numbers-based performance. The second best course is to judge them by their character, as evidenced in part by whether they are — in their own minds — ever wrong.

“It’s the poor craftsman who blames his tools.”

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