Don’t be a Consultant Jerk

Don't be a consultant jerk

I’ve met countless consulting jerks in my life. I’ve been one – probably many times. But that doesn’t stop my aspiration not to ever be.

Here are some symptoms that you’re being a consulting jerk. Some of them, truth be told, are just being a jerk full stop.

If you do any of them, try to stop. Now.

  • Don’t talk crap – you’re toying with your customer’s / employee’s time, money and ambition.
  • Don’t use jargon when normal words will do – you’re not impressing, you’re alienating.
  • Do say good morning, hello, goodbye, and preferably at the right times – we’re all still human.
  • Do ask how people are, and mean it – and if you don’t, then maybe you shouldn’t be in a people business.
  • Do smile – you’re not a teenager trying to be ubercool any more. Unless you are.
  • Don’t think you’re better than your client, even professionally – they can probably run rings round you in their profession.
  • Don’t think your client is better than you – or they wouldn’t have asked for your advice / help.
  • Don’t backstab your client, other project members (even if they’re not your employees), or anyone on your team. Or anyone.
  • Don’t take credit for stuff you didn’t do – but don’t shy away from taking some for stuff you were a part of.
  • Don’t slate the opposition – at least not blatantly, and not unless you’re on solid ground.
  • If you have a big ego, only let it see the light of day with someone who gives a damn – meaning in front of the mirror, or if you’re very lucky, your mum.
  • Don’t treat your team / employees / clients / outsourcers / offshorers like your serfs – and if you employ a serf, don’t treat them like one!
  • Don’t be answering “important” anything on your ‘phone – you’re not being important, you’re being rude.
This list will grow. But although I’m steeped in consulting dickery, I don’t claim to know all the ways in which you can be a dick in consulting – I’ve only been about half of them. So please feel free to add to our list in the comments below.

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