Reading (and Leading) People

 There’s a mighty power called “being able to read people” that can be used for good, to lead others… or for bad, to manipulate them.

A sign of a person’s self-confidence level, as well as their amount of natural leadership skills can both be measured, to a great degree, by how often (or seldom) they are in defense mode.  While there are most definitely times to stand up for ourselves, confident in our stance on whatever issue is at stake, if a person is constantly feeling they have to prove their worth by acting and speaking in a default of defense, then there is a problem.

In theory, a person should only have to be in “defense mode” when they truly need to stand up for themselves or for their just cause.

Therefore, I can’t help but have a respect for people who fight for what they believe in, who turn an apathetic cheek to things they don’t feel passionate about by staying out of it (meaning they don’t think they have to be right about everything), and who are savvy enough when it comes to “reading people” that they don’t have to second-guess what a person is thinking. 

Definitely ironic.  Reading people so well that there is no need to try to predict or figure out what someone is thinking.  Because good “people readers” already know what other people are thinking, yet they NEVER admit it or tell the person they are reading.  No one wants to feel that they are being manipulated because someone has figured them out- though their fear is often indeed true.

So I’d rather be the one in the driver’s seat instead of the sidecar when it comes to the issue.  I’d rather attempt to become a leader (when there’s not already an established one) than become a follower of a corrupt or weak leader; one I don’t respect. 

That’s the whole brilliance in reading other people- the way to manage other people is to steer them into the desired direction without having them realizing what’s happening.  A secret self-taught art that entertainers, politicians, CEO’s, teachers, managers, and pretty much anyone in any type of leadership position learn to master: Do unto others or they will do unto you.

A leader who is a good “people reader” knows the limits of others- what can be asked of them and what they are willing to do to accomplish the goal.  Leaders also know what motivates their team members- how to let them thrive in their skillsets, talents, and creativity. 

To make sure I speak in confidence, not in doubt, I am very specific in the phrases I chose not to say (and type).  In my own vocabulary, these are blacklisted:

“My point isn’t that…”

 “Wait, I know what you’re thinking…”

 “Let me explain, you see…”

 “Here’s what I meant…”

 “See, what I believe is…”

All of those phrases seem to preface the rest of sentence in a way that negates its own validity.  Often when I write, I am making a point based on my own opinion.  As I do this, I have to carefully address the exceptions and any naysayers’ concerns by building on them (You Missed a Spot).  In other words, by “reading people” to where they don’t even get a chance to heckle me with a “yeah, but what about?…”

For example, when I was writing the “sleeper hit” post Must Not Mustache (currently my 5th most popular, surprisingly), I was explaining that most men under the age of 40 can’t be taken seriously if they have a mustache.  Yet, there are exceptions and I needed to be the one to address them.  So I did.  And instead of the exceptions taking away from what I had to say, they complimented it instead.

I keep this original proverb in mind daily:

Speak with authority and direction.  And if you may be wrong about the issue or haven’t done your research, just shut up.  People often mistake silence for wisdom. 

My inspiration to write this post?  This past Sunday night’s episode of The Celebrity Apprentice.  I like learning from other people’s follies and successes- even if it comes from a reality TV show.

Celebrity Apprentice 2010 Recap: Burger Heaven

A big part of enjoying any new season of Celebrity Apprentice is to familiarize yourself with the “celebrities” in the cast.  Granted, there are always a few I have actually heard of, if for no other reasons, nostalgic purposes.  This year, though, there are only a few I had never heard of before; Wikipedia helped fill in the blanks for me.  Here there are, starting in the order of my own greatest familiarity with them to least:

Cyndi Lauper- the off-beat queen of 1983 with her hits “Time After Time” and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”

Sinbad- seriously, how can you not like Sinbad?

Sharon Osbourne- now more famous and recognizable from her reality show appearances than being the wife of Ozzy Osbourne

Rod Blagojevich- the “corrupt politician” whom we’re supposed to hate

Darryl Strawberry- whom I still have a 1988 Post Cereal baseball card of in my parents’ garage

Bill Goldberg- the Jewish professional wrestler, athlete, and… “actor”

Holly Robinson Peete- whom I had a crush on in 6th grade from her role on Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper

Bret Michaels- reality show contestant transfer from VH1, oh yeah, and the lead singer of Poison

Curtis Stone- Australian TV chef

Michael Johnson- Olympic Gold Medal Sprinter

Carol Leifer- Jewish comedienne/writer for Seinfeld

Selita Ebanks- Victoria’s Secret model

Summer Sanders- Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer

Maria Kanellis- former professional wrestling actress

The episode started out with The Donald explaining he understands it’s even harder now than ever to get people to ask for money.  He confidently confirmed that the “celebrities” are putting their careers on hold (cough-cough-desperate-for-a-comeback-cough-cough) to be on the show.

As the script called for, he turned down his personal chauffuer’s ride, telling us the viewers, “Ya know what, I’m walking instead.”  After the camera was turned off, he then most undoubtedly took the ride he just turned down.

This premiere was packed with follicly challenged hosts and constestants, not because they are losing their hair, but because they choose some of the the most bizarre do’s for themselves.  The Donald, of course, has his own signature horribleness.  Blagojevich prefers more of a spin-off of The Donald,  but looking more like a 12 year-old boy’s haircut.  Donald Jr. (who proves bad hair runs in the family) feels most confident in his uneven “which way is it going today?” slick-back.  And Cindy Lauper, it really wouldn’t be fair to call her messy bird’s nest a hairstyle.

The men named their team Rock Solid and the women chose Tenacity (which  means “courage”).  Both teams had to take over a diner called Burger Heaven (two different locations, one for each team).  They only  had 3 hours to be open for business.  This caused a particular challenge for the contestants because any rich friends they had in New York City had to actually be there in person to make a financial contribution.

Rock Solid chose to target people with extra money to give to charity by making all their menu items $100.  But Tenacity chose to make their menu items more affordable for “street people”.  As a curve ball, The Donald had last season’s winner, Jewish comedienne Joan Rivers to visit both team’s restaurants to decide which one was better.  Her decision would cause The Donald to personally give an extra $10,000 to that team’s charity.

Favorite Moments:

When Goldberg compared his old school paper hat to a Yamaka.

When it was obvious that Cyndi Lauper was annoyed by the radio DJ saying naming her restaurant challenge “Girls Just Want to Eat Luh-unch”.

When Sharon Osbourne referred their restaurant as a “Star Wars Bar” because Cyndi Lauper started singing “True Colors” with the accompaniment of her accordion player.

When Joan Rivers referred to her Rock Solid Burger as an “Icelandic Sandwich” because it took Blagojevich nearly 9 minutes to deliver it to her after it was ready.

When Joan Rivers nonchalantly stole a menu from Tenacity’s restaurant as she was leaving.

When The Donald pointed out Cyndi Lauper’s hairdo, then she replied by telling him that her friend Edith thinks that Donald is very sexy, then Donald Jr. asked Cyndi how old her friend is.

When the Friskies commercial came on.  I refer to it “Cats on LSD”.  It’s pretty trippy, man.

The Bottom Line:

Joan Rivers liked Tenacity’s restaurant better, which gave them the $10K advantage, even so, Rock Solid came out way on top:

Tenacity: $29, 559 + $10,000 = $39, 559

Rock Solid: $57, 905

That was a combined total of $97K, then The Donald threw in an extra $3K, giving a total of $100,000 to the American Diabetes Foundation.

The men won, so that meant The Donald had to fire someone from the women’s team, Tenacity.  This episode was unique in that their were no clear stand-out lazy contestants.  But in the board room, a few of the women mumbled Carol Leifer’s name when The Donald asked them who the weakest member of the team was.  Even though Cyndi Lauper was the Project Manager, Carol Leifer was fired.

Then, as usual, the episode abruptly ended with a shot of the car driving away the recently fired contestant.

Thanks for reading, fellow Celebrity Apprentice fans.  If this post garners enough hits from Google searches, like my Bachelor recaps did, I’ll be back next week with another recap.