Leadership

Why start a fight with a person who knows where the bodies are buried?

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
― Napoléon Bonaparte

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I have got a secret. Well, no. Let me rephrase. I know a secret. I have information that a certain other wishes that I did not have.  I not only know a secret, I also know where the bodies are buried. Despite this apparent upper hand that I hold, this individual (lets call him Mr. Dodo), decided to pick a fight. Answer me this, why would you pick a fight with someone who knows where the bodies are buried?  Sadly, you often times see organizational leaders doing such silly moves due to the driving need to over-inflate their egos.

A few years ago, David Stern the NBA Commissioner, told a room full of negotiators that he knew where the bodies are buried in the NBA, because he had buried some of them himself. Such a statement stopped everyone cold. Usually, knowing where the bodies are buried is kept an open secret. Meaning, no one states it outright. However, he felt in that moment the need to remind everyone of his status.  Laughingly, he also admitted to being the one that helped do the burying.  I, for one, am admitting no such thing.

Now we have also heard the phrase, A friend is one who knows where the bodies are buried… A best friend helped you dig the holes!  That is possibly true in many situations. Sadly, these days friendships come and go as evidenced by the constant unfriending on Facebook.  Who would have guessed two decades ago that can stop being friends by just clicking a button? In junior high school it was such a dramatic schoolyard moment when friends stopped being friends. Now you can just hit a button and be done, unless of course you are both still in the same social circles. Then that gets a little awkward. 

One of the funniest unfriending things I have seen is how people finally realized they should not be Facebook friends with their boss. At first everyone became friends with everyone, including their friends.  Then slowly a realization started dawning on the masses that if you post pictures of yourself drunk the night before you call out sick, they may very well notice and take that into account.

Facebook, in a way, allowed for many people to start knowing where your “bodies are buried.”  I wonder if Tony Soprano had a Facebook Page. Can you imagine Tony Soprano “checking in” to a wooded location feeling amused with Christopher? (in case you have never watched the Sopranos show, Tony was the main mobster who occasionally would head out to the woods with Christopher -his main henchman- where they literally buried the people they had just killed). I can imagine Tony Soprano posting on someone’s timeline “the expiration date was last week on all your bullshit with that”. Oh yeah, starting a fight with Tony Soprano would not have gone well.

Now I have digressed mightily. Back to my situation. I am no Tony Soprano. I am no David Stern. I am calm, cool and collected and and will remain so despite how much I am provoked. However, I still do not get the psychology of Mr. Dodo?  Does he know and count on me being calm, cool and collected or does he want to push me towards spilling the secrets? What would be the point of that?

Some people just act out their need for ego-inflation or needless revenge without a thought as to what happens next.  People in the workplace need to be smarter than that for there is always a paper trail -unless you did everything on a private email account that has been erased completely. In this day and age not much stays hidden for long. Selfies, emails, tweets and Facebook posts can give away a lot about yourself and your buried bodies.

At this point I note that I am not necessarily a sleeping bear waiting to be awakened.  I am more like a grizzly bear.

“Most animals show themselves sparingly. The grizzly bear is six to eight hundred pounds of smugness. It has no need to hide. If it were a person, it would laugh loudly in quiet restaurants, boastfully wear the wrong clothes for special occasions, and probably play hockey.”
― Craig Childs, The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild

2 replies »

  1. Interesting points made here. It somewhat reminds me of the situation here in Maine. Recently, our governor (Paul LePage) got into a bit of trouble with accusations that he was blackmailing people. Thing is, people had told him where the bodies were buried but, because he used that to manipulate these people, his manipulative actions became yet another buried body. It’s kind of at a stand still — if he tries to retaliate by spilling the beans, he pretty much admits his guilt in blackmailing. But, in order to prove that he is blackmailing them, the people would have to give up the details they were hoping to hide. It’s a power struggle where it will, most likely, end in stalemate or mutual destruction.

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading this. Really liked the quote at the end, too. Somehow, imagining a grizzly showing up to a wedding in a tie dye shirt and assless chaps popped into mind.

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