Crimes of stupid Covid bosses

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In 1976, Professor Carlo Cipolla, an economics professor at the University of California published an essay about what he perceived as humanity’s greatest threat: Stupidity. His 5 universal laws of stupidity are:

  1. Everyone underestimates the number of stupid people
  2. Stupid people can be found anywhere
  3. Stupid people cause losses to others with no gain to themselves
  4. Non stupid people underestimate the damaging influence of stupid people
  5. A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.

So, what are some of the stupid, unproductive, and harmful things some bosses have done during Covid? Stupid bosses’ crimes include they:

  • Assume everyone knows what is going on – This assumption only heightens uncertainty, which has been the most stressful element of the pandemic for most people. Great bosses overcommunicated with their team, especially at the beginning.
  • Tell people to stop grumbling and to snap out of it – In a crisis nothing counts more than care and empathy. Your team will not care how much you know, until they know how much you care – paraphrasing Teddy Roosevelt.
  • Makes no effort to encourage connection and belonging – Whilst the disruption of the last 15 months has made connection more challenging, innovative bosses have come up with some great connection strategies including virtual coffee breaks, Friday drinks, 15 minute standing meeting to begin each day, post day recap meetings, creating virtual clubs to connect with those with similar interests – photography, exercise, movie, Netflix, podcasts etc
  • Dominates team meetings with monologues – Research shows that in the most psychologically safe and successful teams, everyone speaks approximately equally. It is not a democracy – but everyone feels heard. A legendary boss does not come into a meeting and say ‘Do this’ – they say ‘The best answer is in this room/zoom – let us work it out together
  • Blames everything and everyone for the chaos – Great leadership success comes from taking responsibility for how we respond to setbacks and challenges. If we blame the events – we feel that our success is outside our control.


3 questions caring leaders ask every day

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 Legendary bosses are those that strive for a culture of care, connection, and psychological safety. The know that their #1 priority is to build more caring and resilient teams, who enjoy growing together. They ask these 3 questions.


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