In America, we seem to believe that to be a great success, you need to be a bit of a jerk. The classic example is basketball star Michael Jordan (and his intentional clone Kobe Bryant). As a player, he was fiercely competitive to the point of getting into fistfights with his teammates during practice. He berated teammates who didn’t live up to his standards, and treated a wide array of opposing players, coaches, and even his own team owner with withering contempt.
And we loved him for it.
Other stars also fit the diva mold. Think of business leaders like Steve Jobs, or entertainers like Jim Carrey.
It’s often tempting to mistake correlation for causation, and I think that’s exactly what’s happened in this case.
Sadly, I see many entrepreneurs falling into the trap of believing that they need to be a diva in order to be a warrior. Just last week, I heard a story about a CEO who forced an entire team to switch conference rooms, simply because she had already sat down, and felt that the team needed to come to her.
Nothing could be further from the truth, or less productive. Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs is also one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He has won four championships, and is currently playing for a fifth. He’s been the consummate teammate, is the picture of stability…and his reward is being considered boring.
Yet he is a warrior who gives his all on the court every time. And his teams, while often comprised of unwanted players who were passed over or even cut by other teams, have been consistent winners.
We all want to be successful. But being successful doesn’t mean being a jerk.