Introspection And Honesty: Yeah, Good Luck With That

Hi! Remember me? I’m that narcissistic weirdo who posts original content here.

“Ohhhh – that guy! Didn’t you die in that monster truck rally incident?”

Nope – not me! To be honest, 2014 was an insane year for us here at Digital Ninjas Media. Which is sort of a shame, because there were a great many things that were put off or left undone that should not have been. For example: this group.

But, lo, I have returned! This is where you’d hear the trumpet salute in my head, if technology would just catch the heck up with my self-centered desires. C’est la vie.

Now, it might seem like I’m coming off as sort of an aloof jerk. Aside from the fact that I actually am, I’m also doing it as a segue into this post. The topic? ‘Do your views of yourself jibe with those of your employees/employers?’ Before you answer that, let’s discuss it a bit.

I recently read a humorous quote that stated something akin to ‘95% of Americans believe that they’re smarter than the other 95%’. I’m assuming that the other 5% are either lying, nuns, clinically brain dead individuals, or politicians. I wanted to move on with my life after reading that little nugget of truth, yet found that I just couldn’t. It got me thinking – and I mean REALLY got me thinking. Why? Because if I was being honest, I felt like I really WAS smarter than most Americans. My guess is that you might as well. The problem? Someone has to be wrong. And, sad as it might be, it might just be you and I.

“All right, you disappear for nigh on a year, show up, tell me something I already knew about how awesome I am, and then turn it around on me in a total jerk move. What’s your point, you douche-weasel?”

My point is this: you’re not as great as you think you are. And this goes for employers and employees alike. But it’s okay! This is a workable situation! Let’s begin tackling the problem from the employer’s side (but – employees – read along!)

As an employer, you are responsible for all of the risk in owning the business: insurance, workman’s compensation, taxes, paying the bills, creating the work, maintaining workload, forecasting, keeping the shareholders happy, and eight thousand other things that would make most mortals opt to investigate the business end of a skunk with their tongue rather than do what you’re doing. In some ways, you’re a modern-day superhero.

Employers, however, often focus too much on these points and forget one additional, key piece of the equation: while you’ve done all that, the employees are the fuel that makes the engine run. Without something as seemingly simple as fuel, a Maserati is just a pretty lawn ornament. As such, you have an obligation to maximize profit, while also keeping the fuel clean, and the vehicle that is your business road-worthy. And that’s a painfully difficult exercise at times.

A great leader (i.e. – the employer) develops relationships with their followers (i.e. – the employees). Oftentimes, a person can have amazing business acumen, yet possess no human interaction skills. And this, sadly, is the death knell for many business ventures. They’ve literally failed before they’ve even begun – it’s only a matter of time. Ask yourself this question: do your employees like you? Are you, in fact, fortunate enough to have employees who are willing to do what it takes to make you happy? Are your employees committed to the company’s well-being, without fail or question?

That’s a tough set of questions, isn’t it? Now, I’ll ask you this: how many times did you just lie to yourself? It’s okay. You’re human. Then again, so are your employees. As humans, we crave acceptance, recognition, praise, and inclusion. If, as an employer, you can focus on nurturing those human needs (without being overtly disingenuous, as so many bosses and business owners end up being), you will develop a solid crew of workers who would go through Hell and back to make damn sure that your business is the best it can be. They’ll be motivated to be productive, to be resourceful, and to be open and honest. A few kind words, meaningful recognition programs, or the like are sometimes all it takes to make the things your employees say about you when you’re not around positive in nature.

Ask yourself this: how often do you hear a friend, relative, or colleague gush on and on about what a jackass, know-nothing tyrant they work for? Now, to expound upon that, how often do you hear the opposite? I’m guessing the ratio is phenomenally one-sided.

As an employer, you need to recognize a few things you might not otherwise consider:

  • Lost time and motion translates into lost revenues
  • Lack of productivity devalues the product or service you’re offering with every passing minute
  • Lack of employee morale is transmitted directly to your customer base – be it oral or physical. And customers do NOT like dealing with the emotional baggage of others. They’ve got enough of their own to spare.
  • Training a new employee is profoundly expensive, when you consider the lost productivity on the part of both the trainer, and the trainee. Finding them can add to the costs as well, with regard to placing ads, holding interviews, reviewing resumes, etc. Not to mention potential errors in job performance, which create waste or unsalable product(s).

Employers: look in the mirror. Be critical. No – be HYPER-CRITICAL. It will pay off. I promise. And – for the love of all that’s good and holy, stop lying to yourself. You’ll thank me for it.

Now, let’s flip the switch, and visit the world of the employee. Welcome! If you’re an employee, then you’re fortunate enough to have been selected by a business owner as a trustee of their consolidated risk. They’ve quite literally put their livelihood (or, a part of it) in your hands. Holy crap – you have responsibility! Who knew?

As an employee, you need to consider all of the things outlined above. Remember that employers often aren’t working a three-hour day to go home to their champagne-filled pool for bon-bons and lobster. Okay, some might be, but the odds are staggeringly against this being the case – work with me, here. Chances are they’ve worked themselves stupid and put everything on the line, risking it all, to make their dreams a reality. If you don’t know about any of this, then I’d encourage you to ask. I think you’ll find your employer is a lot more than they seem, and it might change the way you choose to view and interact with them.

Employers, as a rule, need you. There is, however, an old saying: ‘Just because you’re necessary, doesn’t mean that you’re important’. Which is true, in some respects. I’d like to perform the same experiment on you, as we did on your employer above. Look in a mirror, and ask yourself what your employer thinks of you. I mean, really and truly – not the Adonis-like, chiseled featured overlord you envision yourself to be. It’s a hard question, I know.

As a matter of course, in America, most employees are somewhat to profoundly unhappy with their jobs. Part of the problem, however, is that they blame this on the employer, rather than being introspective about it. Consider: did the employer hunt you down and beg you to work for them? Or did you apply to their business?

Ah-ha! I just caught 99.9% of you in a trap of your own making. You can’t see it, but I’m laughing maniacally, while pretending to twist my handlebar moustache. Frankly, it’s less satisfying than I thought it would be. >Sigh< Oh, well.


If you applied for the position that you now hold, then who do you have to blame? Often, employees take out their frustrations on their employers using what psychologists call ‘transference’. Whether it be their home life, their love life, their regrets, their poor life decisions, their having been screwed-over by someone, etc. These, sadly, are often transposed upon our employers as somehow being their fault. Which is the epitome of unfairness. Likewise, employers can sometimes do this to their employees. It’s a phenomena I like to call ‘poisoning the well’, because it tends to begin with one individual and, like a cancer, spread amongst everyone in the workplace.

I could write about this for hours. Which would be awesome for my ego, but sort of unnecessary. The bottom line is this: every day that you arrive at your place of business – employer or employee – consider all of your interactions. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be honest. Be forthright. Be fair. And – for God’s sake – never EVER yell or discipline someone in front of others. Make ‘deposits’ in the bank of praise, so that when negatives do have to be addressed, they’re taken more seriously, and with less stress. Put yourself in the shoes of others, often. Rescind your initial, gut reaction to situations and, instead, consider them like a crime scene investigator. Often, what appears on the surface to be one thing is – upon analysis and consideration – quite another. The problem is, most folks don’t bother to do the homework. They just go with their gut, open their mouth, and end up being stupid, a dick, or both. Don’t be that person. No one likes that person.

Above all else – be honest with yourself. If we all did more of this, the workplace would be an environment that far less of us would dread or vilify.


Heath D. Alberts – Co-Founder & Marketing Director

Digital Ninjas Media, Inc. (

Author of: “Terminal Beginning” (2010) | “Guerrilla Business” (2012) | “The Battery Man” (2013) | “Last Rights” (2013) | “Deeper” (2014) | “Photographic Memory (2014) | “Not On The List” (Coming Soon)

Contributor To: “Secret Rockford” (2014) | The Rockford Blog

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~ by digitalninjasmedia on January 16, 2015.

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