It’s a battle of the biceps on Broadway.
That is because “A Chorus Line” star Mario Lopez is allegedly steamed his co-star, Nick Adams, is upstaging him in the hunkiness department. The New York Post (NWS) reports that the actor known for his role as A.C. Slater on the hit show “Saved By The Bell” does not want his co-star's arms bare when they share the stage.
Lopez stars as Zach, a theater director, who throughout the musical's three decade-spanning story wears a tan sweater with long sleeves. Only now the buff Lopez wears short sleeves. Meanwhile the perhaps buffer Adams, who plays Larry, an assistant choreographer who traditionally wears a tank top, now wears long sleeves. Lopez “was concerned that Adams’ biceps would upstage his, so he requested that Adams wear a hoodie over his tank top, which Adams does whenever he’s next to [Lopez],” reports the New York Post.
Whether it is who's got bigger biceps or who runs the biweekly sales meeting, handle-with-care egos are part of the politics that come with any work environment. Laura Rowley, author of Money and Happiness and a blogger on Yahoo! Finance (YHOO), points out that the working world is all about networking and upstaging other people may come back to bite you if you make them look bad. “You want to think big-picture and long-term,” she says.
If the person you are upstaging is your boss, you should tread lightly. Both Rowley and Penelope Trunk, blogger at Brazen Careerist and career columnist at the Boston Globe (NYT), agree that your job is to make your boss look good and upstaging her may mean that she is unimpressive to begin with and you’re making her look worse by highlighting it. “There would be no way you could be doing a good job and upstaging your boss,” says Trunk.
At the same time, big egos can actually be good for a company, or even a Broadway production, when harnessed properly.
“Everyone should want to be surrounded by people with huge egos,” because those people care enough to get the job done well, says Trunk. An office environment where coworkers are consistently trying to upstage each other can be a positive sign for a company because it means employees are making an effort, she says. “You want to be surrounded by people who are upstaging you because they push you to be better,” she says. “You have to be better than everyone.” Likewise, if you are upstaging your working peers, you’ll probably push them to work harder so they can be better than you.
What if you’re the one being upstaged? “Don’t be petty,” says Rowley. You may think you’re refocusing attention where it belongs—on you—but it is likely to backfire, she says. “All you’ve done is broadcast your insecurity to the world.”
Trunk advises that an employee should have a big ego and a high opinion of himself, but should not get caught up worrying about the status of everyone else’s ego. Instead, worry about you and you alone–particularly whether you are competent and kind, which is what really counts in office politics, she says. “Egos and upstaging are things underperformers worry about.”
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