*This article about poor performance while on a steep growth trajectory has been adapted from…
Criticism & Manipulative Insincerity
When you don’t Care Personally or Challenge Directly, criticism is Manipulatively Insincere.
Here’s an extreme example. We know you’d never be as bad as the villain in this story, Billy, but we offer it to you as a cautionary tale.
Kim once gave a pitch to a venture capitalist — let’s call him Billy — that went horribly wrong. She only got through about half her presentation because Billy asked about a competitor that Kim had never heard of before. She became so flummoxed that she was totally incoherent for much of the presentation.
The next day, Billy called Kim up and said how much he’d enjoyed the meeting.
“Really?” Kim blurted out. “I thought it was the worst pitch I ever gave!”
“Oh, you’re much too hard on yourself!” exclaimed Billy, who proceeded to tell Kim how impressed he was and dismissed her ignorance of a major new competitor as totally unimportant.
Kim was completely confused. Was her understanding of what made a good pitch so off? Was she just suffering an irrational crisis of confidence? Had she actually done as well as Billy said?
Then, Billy went on to say how impressed he was by Kim’s background. He mentioned a company where she once worked. “Did you happen to know X there? Would you mind introducing me to him?”
Now Kim understood! Billy didn’t really think her pitch had gone well. He just wanted an introduction to X. Using guidance as a means to accomplish your own agenda is Manipulatively Insincere.
More about this story and others is included in “Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity,” published by St. Martin’s Press. Learn more