#285: When Knowing More Could Mean Less

Insight #285

“I know what I like and I like to be right.”

. . .

Did you know there is a risk in knowing more than the boss? Yes, there is. Which is why, at work, you should be careful not to let your guard down. Don’t believe those people who say you should be authentic by bringing your “real self” to the office.

There are moments when it can be trickier to keep your guard up. Like when you are out drinking with the boss. Any boss, for that matter. It could cost you your job, like it did my friend Dave.

Hold on tight, because this is a scary, but true, story.

As part of the interview process, Dave had dinner with the future boss and another executive. Dave told me after the interview that he knew exactly when during dinner the boss decided not to offer him the job. Here’s what happened.

The executive, aware that Dave had once worked in the wine industry, asked him to select the wine. The problem was that the boss deemed himself to be the resident wine expert. Dave knew this and had to make a simple choice. Order a fine wine according to his expertise or a crummy one to stroke the boss’s ego. Be true unto himself or be dishonest to get the job.

Years later, Dave bumped into the other executive. That’s when the executive confirmed the reason Dave did not get the job. The wine.

Next time I have a glass of wine, I will drink a toast to you for not being afraid to hire people who know more than you do.

(What happened to Dave? He helped a different firm, one with smaller executive egos, make a ton of money.)

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.

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