During 20 hours of being grilled, observes Politico, Neil Gorsuch "emerged largely unscathed."
Of course, members of the media, political parties and the legal sector keep calculating the odds of whether Gorsuch will be confirmed to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat left vacant by Antonin Scalia.
But, for those of us in the business of presentation of self or establishing presence the issue is: Gorsuch created what probably was the best persona under the circumstances through a focused, respectful but confident low profile. This is the antithesis of the cult of personality dominating much of current professional life.
Decades ago, Arthur Miller warned about the perils of the cult of personality in his play "Death of a Salesman."
Willy Loman was a glad-hander. He assumed that the sheer force of that would close the sale. Of course, it didn't. Not in work. And not in his personal life. Loman winds up committing suicide.
In real life professionals who also bombed out through the cult of personality range from Uber's Travis Kalanick to infamous intern Monica Lewinsky.
What lessons can professionals learn from Gorsuch? Here are just some:
- The "it," whatever that "it" is, is never about you. It's always about assessing the context and figuring out the most effective response. That includes not only words but also body language and facial expressions.
- Admit mistakes. But move the conversation forward.
- Display integrity. That used to be called "character."
- Stick to the script. Sure, that should be flexible. But it must serve as a centering mechanism.
If appointed, Gorsuch will be the one on the high court to watch as "The New Kind of Player."
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