3 Career & World-Of-Work Lessons from Batman Vs Superman
So the epic new superhero blockbuster movie – Batman Vs. Superman: The Dawn Of Justice was recently released in cinemas worldwide. And just about everyone has an opinion about whether or not it’s ‘all that and a box of popcorn’.
Well, we went to watch it, but instead of endorsing or critiquing this as a piece of cinematic, we thought, ‘Hey, what world-of-work lessons can we learn from it? And what might it tell us about job search and career development?”
If you haven’t seen (or even heard about this movie [like REALLY?]), then check out the trailer here:
After watching the movie, we thought that there were a ton of business lessons (see: http://www.statusstaffing.com/batman-vs-superman-top-talent-should-make-love-not-war/) to draw from the movie. Really, no jokes! We promise that if you haven’t made these connections while watching the movie, then we’ll help you’ll get them here [‘cause we ‘re nice like that].
But we saw sooo many business insights buried in this awesome movie that we can’t cover them all in one blog [really!], so watch out for future blogs on this theme by us.
At Status, we’re BIG on talent, because talent matters!
We’re big on talent whether it’s a top candidate in the local Cape Town labour market or if it’s a superhero in Gotham or some place similar.
And for us, ‘talent’ means talented people.
That’s why we’re experts in all matters ‘talent’. Whether in a business organisation or a career context. And whether it’s Talent Acquisition, Talent Development or Talent Management.
So in this blog, we look at 3 business talent lessons that you can take from the Batman Vs Superman movie and apply in your career today:
In business, the aim of a company for its top talent (men & women employed at a company) is that they work together in teams for heroic performance through super collaboration. Right?
There’s a reason you get asked if you’re a ‘team-player’ in job-interviews!
But, often, in many companies and teams it’s more like a case of Batman vs Superman: there is only room for one super talent in town. But no matter how strong or talented any one person (or superhero) is, it’s never as strong a team of top performers working together! In other words, the Justice League is greater than Batman or Superman by themselves. When top performers work together, they produce super performance and results!
This team is greater than the sum of its parts. BIG time!
But let’s get real for a moment and admit to ourselves that this doesn’t always happen in the workplace.
Talented people at work, like angry superheroes [ahem, Batman], don’t always play nicely together in the office. Why not? Well, because we’re all human (even when we’re superhuman!). We can be territorial. We have egos. We want to get ahead in our careers.
The crux of the matter is, you have to learn how to deal with the negative dynamics of the corporate world, sometimes which includes other people’s egos and even our own ego. It can mean working with people we don’t like, as well as those that we do.
Mark Swartz, in an article Competing For A Promotion, writes that not all tactics are fair in vying for promotions at work and some colleagues may become outright villains in our eyes. Sometimes they may even resort to unethical behaviour to gain the boss’ favour [the villains!].
All companies are as different as all people are different and all companies are filled with lots of different people. The company’s culture depends largely on who’s in charge and what behaviour is tolerated, amongst other things. Part of succeeding in today’s world-of-work is being able to get on with your colleagues whatever the diversity of their background and character. That’s why EQ is so important nowadays.
In high pressure environments, where a ‘win at all costs’ culture exists, being cut throat can become a means to an end and good people may do bad things. A culture of ‘survival of the fittest’ or something like it. In the Batman Vs Superman movie, they capture how good people can become…not so good when they believe that the end justifies the means:
[Luckily, Bruce Wayne has Alfred to try keep him on the straight and narrow. Hopefully, you have a great team leader, colleague or mentor to help you do the same!]
So what do you do? Do you fight fire with fire or fight fire cleanly? The answer lies within you. But, consider what this promotion is worth to you and be guided by your personal set of values. Also, remember that careers are built on the work you put in over the medium and long-term. If you burn or sabotage colleagues in the short-term , then it’ll probably come back around to you at some point. It’s a kind of business/career karma!
Mark Swartz says, “When promotions are based on merit, then out-merit your competing colleagues. Otherwise consider switching elsewhere in the company or to a new employer altogether. Selling your soul for a promotion may simply not be worth it.”
If you’re unsure if you’re behaving in the right way in your career, then the simple test is: what would Wonder Woman think of your behaviour? Like:
In the end, the real winners are the people with super talent who work together and collaborate their super skills to get great results for their team and company. Those are the ones who succeed in their careers too, in the long term. Choose to be that sort of super career hero! Be Wonder Woman or Superman, not Lex Luther.
Diana has a day job & after hours she fights crime as part of the Justice League (as her alter-ego: Wonder Woman).
Impressive, hey, although we don’t know where she finds the time – what with being a Warrior Princess and all!
Anyway, we’ll be seeing more of her a bit later in this blog….
It’s often commented upon in the media that men and woman are treated differently in the workplace.
This age-old media debate often concerns whether men or women are better (or not) than the other gender in competing disciplines (like top tennis stars, movie stars or as CEOs and in the Boardroom, etc.).
At one time or another, we might all experience being treated differently at one time or another in the world-of-work because of our gender, whether you’re a woman or a man.
We look at a few of these gender challenges here:
Martin Williams, in his blog Female Graduates Earn Less Than Males – Even If They Studied The Same Subject, has this to say on the subject:
“It is difficult to see why male and female graduates of the same subject discipline do not achieve very similar earnings. Since this is unlikely to be a consequence of employers paying males and females doing the same job differently – as this would be unlawful – we infer that something else is happening to account for this.”
He adds: “One rather more heartening finding is that satisfaction with one’s career to date does tend to improve with higher salaries, and this was particularly so for women.”
Take a look at the top ten on Billboard’s music industry Power 100 List for 2016. There are 14 women in the top 100 (only five get their own circle) and none are in the top ten.
“The galleries of men behind the music scene are enough to make you wonder if women’s success as leaders in entertainment, and other industries, is helping or hindering women who strive to be leaders in business. Are Beyoncé, Adele and Taylor Swift role models for female empowerment or do they give us a false sense of advancement while reinforcing the perception of women as accessories who provide the soundtrack for a world in which men still rule?”, says Lynne Everatt, writer for Cheeky Streaks.
What do you think?
Enter Wonder Woman!
(We told you she’d be back, though it’s just for a small scene in this blog.)
She’s garbed in a gorgeous gown and Batman can’t resist getting a word in!
Upon seeing her, Batman asks who she is and then says: “I’ve known a few women like you.”
And because she’s Wonder Woman she retorts, “Oh, I don’t think you’ve ever known a woman like me.” [BOOM!]
Many intelligent and successful professional women face the similar challenges in their respective workplaces. We found this article by Rosie Spinks as a great reference on this theme: https://www.good.is/articles/my-job-in-the-recession-era-sexual-economy
In Dawn of Justice there are four really great female characters all who show positive asects of strong, talented, successful women:
If you look around your company, we’re sure that you’ll see some great professional role models who are women (and even some men too). Watch them and learn from them. Maybe even ask them if they’ll be your career mentor?
What are these?
People often think of presenteeism as, the opposite of absenteeism: namely, attending work even when you’re too sick to be there and be productive.
It can be this. But it can be more than that too. Also, it can be Facetime-Presenteeism.
Facetime is when a culture of management develops that expects employees to be at the office long hours (often starting work extra early and finishing extra late), even when they aren’t being productive. The penalties for employees at such companies for not playing the presenteeism and facetime game may be getting over-looked for promotions and pay rises.
Cary Cooper, of RobertsonCooper, has this to say on the topic: “The most common definition of presenteeism relates to the act of coming to work whilst ill and the impact that this has on a person’s level of productivity.”
We suppose one could liken absenteeism to coffee machine breakdowns, train delays and printer jams, it is an unavoidable part of working life. Absence, however, is only one part of the picture when it comes to employee health.
“Presenteeism, or sickness presence, is the act of showing up for work without being productive, generally because ill-health prevents it. Presenteeism in the workplace is not a new phenomenon – anyone who’s ever dragged themselves to work with a splitting headache could tell you that. But, while employee’s sickness absence levels are routinely measured as part of health and productivity monitoring, the less tangible levels of sickness presence are often ignored. One of the reasons that the CIPD’s (Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy) most recent report on absence management found that a third of organisations have reported an increase in people coming to work while ill.”, says Dee McCurry in a blog where she discusses 5 Ways to Reduce Presenteeism in the Workplace.
There is however, more to presenteeism than meets the eye. Have you seen those colleagues who work extended hours but hardly any during normal office hours? Oh they look busy, but they’re not productive. Those long phone calls to their best friend or studying for an examination could also be classified as presenteeism. What about procrastination or spending copious hours on social media during business hours? This is Facetime-Presenteeism.
It is often believed that employees who work long hours are the most valuable to an organisation, but this myth is well worth investigating.
Some people may put on this act of pretending to work long hours in the belief that it helps them keep their job, get a promotion, or appear to be an indispensable member of the team. But they are not producing anything extra to the business. In fact, they may be very unproductive and a liability for their team.
There are many challenges faced by employees who do not practice presenteeism. For example, in connection with the challenges women sometimes face in the workplace, working mothers who leave work after a productive eight-hour day sometimes are deemed less valuable because they are not seen to be putting in the ‘extra time’ (which is mistakenly equated to hard work, when its not).
Introvert people who do not go out for drinks with the boss (or colleagues) on weekday evenings or over weekends may miss out on an opportunity to ‘sell’ themselves for a promotion, etc.
Here’s the bottom-line. Just because an employee is not seen to do does not mean that their impact to the end result is not felt. In fact, it is often the people behind-the-scenes who are most impactful.
Top companies and the best managers recognise that what really matters is your results (the output and not the ‘input). If you can produce the same or better results in less hours than another person, all power to you. Taking lots of overtime to complete your work might say negative things about your competence!
Enters Wonder Woman…for the last time… Yip, it’s the fighting scene.
In the Justice League team, Batman is the experienced and mature crime fighting mortal, while Superman is the powerful alien.
And Wonder Woman completes the team!
You see, she didn’t get involved in Superman and Batman’s violent disagreement at the start of the movie. Rather she focussed on making her appearance when it really mattered and made the greatest contribution! In fact, you could argue that she provides the leadership and collaboration that brings the team together when it most needs to in order to fight the Doomsday monster.
A super cameo team performance that earns Wonder Woman her own movie in the next year or two.
You see, although her character appeared only a few times in the Batman vs Superman movie & was not always at the forefront of every action scene, one can’t ignore the impact that she makes in the final scene – when it really counted.
In the same way, the employees who are present (truly present: in their mind as well as their body) and add value in their work every day is the sort of talented employee who cannot be ignored and are the ones who have super successful careers.
Sometimes it takes a well-timed woman’s touch!
- Building Your Online Brand-Me: http://www.statusstaffing.com/be-wise-organise-the-brand-me-benefits-of-an-ordered-online-footprint/
- Job Search Tips: http://www.statusstaffing.com/the-scary-but-awesome-adventures-of-work-search/
- The Art of CV Writing: http://www.statusstaffing.com/the-masterful-art-of-the-cv/
Check out our latest Super Talented Career Role Model Profiles:
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