For the most part, I am fortunate. The first responders who attend my situational awareness classes are humble, courteous and professional. They come to the programs eager to learn, open-minded and ask really smart questions. Clearly, their focus is on improving their safety. But… every once in a while, I get “that guy.”
Now, I am aware of the gender sensitivity and the potential for a strong emotional response because I’m using the word “guy.” But, in this case, for better or worse, the behaviors I am about to discuss I have only observed in men, never women. This, unto itself, may be a truly amazing observation (if not the foundation for a doctoral dissertation).
You know “that guy”… the one who somehow, for some reason, thinks he is bulletproof. Fire trembles in his presence. He wears his underwear on the outside. He is gripped by bravado.
Where do these people come from? There is a dangerous concoction of ingredients that created this dangerous mindset. The recipe usually includes:
• A big ego
• A low self-esteem
• Extremely overconfident
Ok… who wants to hang out with “that guy?” No thanks would be my answer.
Or worse… who wants to work with “that guy?” Yeah, I’m thinking not so much.
Even worse, who wants “that guy” as your supervisor? Definitely not!
And perhaps the worst of all… who wants “that guy” as your chief? Uhh… No!
Chief Gasaway’s Advice
The person gripped with bravado is likely to have flawed situational awareness of the risky environment he is working in or the risks he’s exposing you to. Each of us has a limited capacity in our brain for awareness. In “that guy” the brain space is being occupied by selfish thoughts and a healthy dose of fear. Fear? A person full of bravado and cockiness hardly seems fearful, right? Well, on the outside perhaps not. But on the inside, there are massive amounts of fear driving their behavior.
I don’t recommend pointing these fears out to the bravado-driven person. Trust me, I doubt they’ll appreciate you revealing the motive behind their behavior. In fact, if the person gripped by bravado were to read this article (and I doubt they would), you’d know the article hits too close to home when they launch a personal attack against me. Why would they do is? When the message gets a little too close for comfort, the natural reaction is attack. It’s the modus operandi of the bravado-driven individual.
1. Observe the bravado-driven individual. Try to understand what the motive is behind the behavior.
2. Engage gently. Do not attack their shortcomings. This will only provoke an unpleasant response. Instead, talk about your passion for safety and don’t waver from your convictions.
3. Seek support, but don’t gang up on the bravado-driven guy. If he feels backed into a corner he’s likely to come out fighting which is not the goal.
If you are interested in taking your understanding of situational awareness and high-risk decision making to a higher level, check out the Situational Awareness Matters Online Academy.
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