PoochEgotism. Lies. Corruption. Fear. Four words that succinctly describe how a once-mighty leader of a world power really screwed the pooch.

It’s no secret that the gestalt of Russia’s leadership and management, from the Kremlin down to the lowest rungs of societal groupings, reflects a blend of negative attributes carefully crafted over the last century to control the population and maintain the untouchability of selected kingpins. From Stalin to Khrushchev to Putin, power-deluded leaders created and maintained an environment that sealed its citizens in a surreal, toxic bubble.

The faults and flaws permeating the corridors of the Kremlin are not limited to the confines of the Russian Federation. Leadership and management around the world—including real estate agents running their own businesses and interacting with clients on a daily basis—would do well to learn how not to deal with other human beings.

Egotism

Supreme leaders tend to have a large ego. It’s hard not to see how humility and graciousness alone cannot win over hearts and lead countries and enterprises. But an oversized ego can be a fatal flaw: it imbues the ego-holder with a sense of invincibility, a belief that only he or she is right. Once someone determines that absorbing facts and heeding advice is no longer necessary, their ability to see pitfalls and react to them appropriately is greatly constricted.

Lies

People lie to avoid responsibility. They also lie to burnish their image and inflate accomplishments. This may work well to appease a fawning base, but hides deep flaws and erects a wall against truth and reality.

The most insidious aspect of lying as a management tool is abetting and encouraging lying at all levels of management below. Lying flows in both directions: down to subordinates and constituents, and up the chain of command to the Liar in Chief. An egotistical autocrat may fall into the trap of believing that all lies are only those espoused by him. He has no way of knowing how many different lies are told him in return.

Corruption

With power come perks. Perks include wealth. Wealth is like a lawn of weeds—it spawns greed, an insatiable desire for more of what is possible with lots of discretionary income. Autocrats know this, and grease the wheels of their power machine by skimming the wealth of others while spreading a necessary portion of that around to pacify and satiate the wants of subordinates.

But greed, like lies, spreads unchecked down the pipeline as each layer of management, fed from above, strives to find means by which to feed off whatever else is available to pilfer around them.

Fear

It doesn’t take much for average and above average members of the elite, management and authority throughout the realm to realize that ego, lies and corruptions are probably not in the best interest of their society. Responsible citizens may decide to make their voices heard and attempt to reform the status quo (see: American and French Revolutions). And that may actually work (see: American and French Revolutions).

But an ego/lie/greed-driven autocrat has the answer to this pesky possibility: eliminate the opposition. By any means. Nothing solidifies a corrupt status quo like the knowledge at every level of corruption that one has only two options: go along and share in the ill-begotten profits or die.

Real estate agents

Whoa. How are real estate agents included in the same treatise in How Not to Run a Country as Lenin and Putin? We, the purveyors of services to those wishing to uproot and re-root themselves are susceptible to the same pitfalls as autocrats, albeit on a less-grand scale. We work on commission, meaning that our income is directly proportional to our levels of skill and effort. For the less scrupulous members of the profession, those attributes may include treachery and a proclivity to bend rules and conventions for personal gain.

We promised to uphold the standards of Realtors, and although it may be obvious, those standards include being truthful and honest with all parties in a transaction, work with the best financial interest of clients in mind, and never assume that our opinions alone are what matter, regardless of facts or alternative options.

The fourth flaw of autocrats, leadership by fear, is arguably a more remote but still possible pitfall for real estate agents. Fortunately we live in a free society where opinions and feelings are protected by our Constitution. Any attempt by an agent to intimidate or operate on the basis of fear will be met with a technologically primitive but exceedingly effective weapon: one’s middle finger.

Photo credit Lance Muir

Bo Twerdowsky

Real estate agent, self-professed computer geek, grammar policeman, proud father of two. Opinionated, questioning, intolerant of stuffy sorts devoid of a sense of humor.