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How To Learn Good Things From Bad People

Posted By: Mike Fitzgerald | Posted on: 03-25-2022

By Mike Fitzgerald

We see stories almost every day about being the best version of ourselves that we can be. It’s the kind of story that’s inspiring, uplifting, and motivating.

It’s the story that gets published most often. What can we learn from the most remarkable leaders? How can our best managers and the people who have shaped our lives along the way mold us into better leaders?

The story we rarely see, although equally valuable, is about how to make working for a total jerk a great learning experience. And let’s face it- we’ve all worked for one at one time or another.

Watch. Learn. Listen. Keep a journal. Make the most of the opportunity but don’t falter in your integrity.
Wear resilience and perseverance like shields. You may not see the end of the tunnel at times, but stay focused on the tunnel.

Envision your future success. Don’t allow the experience to shape you, but embrace the opportunity to know more about who you don’t want to be when you lead people in the future.

In his book, Ego Is The Enemy, Ryan Holiday says this about Steve Jobs:

“He was a petulant, entitled [man] who bullied employees and nearly destroyed his own company because of his immaturity.”

We think it is enough to learn simply from the people we admire—but anyone can do that. It leaves half the lessons out of the equation. The other half—and perhaps the most important half—requires that we learn even from the people we detest or find appalling.

As Plutarch writes, “fire burns him who touches it, yet it furnishes light and heat, and is an instrument of every craft for those who have learned to use it.”

Mike Fitzgerald 23 Posts

Fitzgerald MSI provides clients with a talent management framework that helps them make better hiring, advancement and talent development decisions. We identify how people process information and make decisions, predict how they are motivated, and suggest how well they fit into the client’s culture. We help clients select the right people, and accelerate the onboarding and assimilation process to make them more productive, more quickly. And we help clients improve relationships among and between teams, manage training and development gaps, and identify next-generation managers and executive leadership. Mike Fitzgerald, the president of Fitzgerald MSI, created the company in 2002 to help clients achieve peak performance to improve the client experience, improve efficiency and productivity and enhance revenue. Clients include E *TRADE, TransAmerica, Direct General Insurance, HarlandClarke, Cendant Corporation, State Bank Financial Corporation, ING DIRECT (now Capital One), CHD Meridian Healthcare, Radio-One, Wilmington Trust Company, Morris Bank, and more. Fitzgerald is a former chief talent officer, president and CEO, chief operating, officer, and sales, leader. He is a certified practitioner in the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) and Hogan assessments. He’s been a consultant to Fortune-100 companies, startups, turnarounds, and served as an executive officer for companies as large as $4 billion. He’s an Economics graduate from the University of Massachusetts, a frequent speaker at industry events, and the author of three books on service quality, client experience management, and business communications.