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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

April - 2008 - issue > People Manager

Dealing with the Alpha professionals

C Mahalingam (Mali)
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
C Mahalingam (Mali)
Many young and upcoming professionals succeed in their careers because of certain common characteristics. These include hard and intelligent work, a thirst for learning, being flexible, showing initiative, taking calculated risks, personal sacrifices, seeking help when necessary and reaching out to those in need of help, and above all integrity in relationships with people they work with. These attributes are even more strongly required as they move up the organizational hierarchy and reach senior positions.

But what happens to many of these people at a later stage is a sad story. These highly successful and bright stars start becoming “shooting stars” and become increasingly unpopular and unmanageable over time, if they have not consciously paid attention to a quiet change that happens within them. This change is often viewed as career-limiting because their relationships with others start to strain, their listening abilities diminish considerably, and they become difficult to handle. What happened to these rock stars?

Welcome to the world of Alpha Male & Alpha Female
Over time, they have become Alpha males and Alpha females. In a ground-breaking Harvard Business Review article published in May 2004, Kate Ludeman and Eddie Erlandson describe what it means to be an Alpha person. “They are the people who are unhappy if they are not the top dogs - the ones calling the shots. Alphas get stressed when the responsibility of taking tough decisions don’t rest in their capable hands”. The authors go on to show how their very strengths can become their weaknesses as well by explaining a few of their attributes as under:
They are self-confident and opinionated: This helps them with their intuition and to act decisively in most situations; however, this turns into a weakness when they close their minds, come across as domineering and intimidating in their relationships with colleagues.
They are highly intelligent: So, they see beyond the obvious and often take creative steps in resolving issues and problems; but this takes an ugly turn when they dismiss or demean colleagues who disagree with them.
They are action-oriented: This helps them produce results and become dependable; however, it becomes a negative trait when it is manifested in showing intolerance or impatience with process change which may actually improve results for their performance.
They set straight goals for themselves: They show great quality as they set standards and achieve goals; however, this can also take the form of their being constantly dissatisfied and they may fail to appreciate or motivate others.

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