- The Mafia Manager: A Guide for the Corporate Machiavelli
Remember the last time somebody rubbed you the wrong way? Does this person even know he offended you, or did you just quietly curse under your breath and go about your business ... perhaps gossiping about so-and-so to your close friends, and snickering over what a clueless jackass this person is?
God knows I've been guilty of that more times than I can count.
But flip this scenario around, and imagine moments when you're the clueless nitwit, unknowingly alienating friends/co-workers or engaging in self-destructive behavior, while others titter behind your back.
Not so funny when the shoe's on the other foot, is it?
As children, we expect grownups to correct our manners, grammar, and behavior. In the process, we open ourselves to change - we learn, we adapt, we grow. But somewhere during the transition to adulthood, we cross the invisible boundary labeled 'You Ought To Know Better By Now,' and that flow of feedback slows to a trickle, and then stops. And as goes feedback, so goes your evolution as a human being.
Think of all the self-defeating and objectionable behavior you witness among your friends and acquaintances; unfortunately, given the choice between bringing up potentially uncomfortable topics or turning a blind eye, nearly all of us opt for the latter. And so we go along, blissfully unaware, making the same mistakes over and over again ... before an audience of knowing peers too polite to point out your flaws to your face.
In the Mob, high-ranking capos put tremendous trust on their consigliere, a senior advisor who exists outside the chain-of-command hierarchy of the organization (and thus, capable of more objective advice, since can rise no further in rank and thus have far fewer hidden agendas than an ambitious junior don), for valuable outsider's perspective. Of course, the benefits of having consigliere are not limited to just mob bosses. Everybody has personal blind spots - flaws in our temperament or personality that cause needless conflicts, spawn preventable problems.
A good consigliere acts as a corrective force that can call B.S. on your excesses and offer the sort of pointed observations about your habits and foibles that quietly cripple you. I share kenshi's strengths and weaknesses discussed in this thread, and suffer from many of the attendent problems associated with having a willful, persuasive personality.
Recent lunch meeting with my own mentor/advisor prompted me to consider the topic in greather depth, and I figure it might be interesting to turn the question to the audience - who is your consigliere, and what are the blind spots (professional or personal) that you wrestle with?