Looking good is maybe the oldest and best know social bias around that describes a tendency to show our actions in best possible way to others and answer any question so that it will be viewed favourably by others, preferable our superiors. Usually this includes a tendency to overreport on ‘good’ things and underreport on ‘bad’ things. Usually it is often seen as brown nosing by others while we rationalise it as good. A atypical example is that of smoking marijuana where it shows a rebellious nature to fit into a certain group image. A more typical example is to report only things the boss likes, while leave it to others to report on the bad things.
As architects it is important to be aware of some the most common instances that may befall ourself and others and possible countermeasures both for ourselves and in dealing with others.
Personal income is perhaps the classical are of looking good where the direct worth is derived from the level of income. That level is often not direct relation to the co-workers, but rather to family connection. As such architects that use their income as a factor of looking good can be a bit annoying especially if their colleges are not understanding why they are gloating at an income level lower than that of themselves. The personal income social bias is a relative harmless bias as it usually is just annoying to others. In the few instances it really gets annoying the worst is to fight it as this will just make it grow, but instead to ignore it.
A really nasty way of looking good are feelings of low self worth combined with denied power in situations, as this usually means that the person in question will use every opportunity he can show power in the most inappropriate manner. This is especially true with architects that usually have no direct people management, but who are part of a governance process. Usually the architect in question will use some nitty gritty reason to block all kind of requests and as such make himself extremely loathed. Usually the person who acts that way thinks that he will be be admired for what he is doing, but instead people will just sideline him and as such drive him in lower self worth and deeper desperation. The only two ways I have seen this to change is either through professional counselling that will only work if the person in question consents to it or through a positivity enforcement where he tasked in helping people with real difficulties in a subject. Here it however vital that these are people in real need as otherwise the low self-esteem will actually be deepened.
Hidden problems that are not discussed at work can create quite strange way that people are feeling good about obscure things such as being able to write in a wonderful hand or as having prettier hair than anyone else. Since the reasons of this behaviour are often grounded in areas such as the inability to perform certain body functions, sexual problems, religion or patriotism just to name a few it is best to manage around these as a treatment can usually never happen in a work environment, unless their behaviour gets too interrupting. Usually it is not a good idea to analyse people with weird areas where they want to look good as it requires professional help, who can often also not figure it out. If you personally suffer under this behaviour be told that a solution often requires many attempts, so be patient.
If a person displays the need to be looking good only at certain times please check for medical problems or for legal or illegal mental drugs that are boosting or dampening the mood of a person. Be especially aware of people that produce this behaviour together with excessive long work schedules as their are many drugs including cocaine that often produce these symptoms. In that case also enquire for professional help. The same relates to people that are acting good to hide illegal acts, violence or character flaws that despite of them knowing to be wrong they follow. Usually this form of looking good manifests itself in being charitable to an extreme or abnormal morale in all their official dealings.
An area where you can change the tendency and which is often over exposed by architects is intellectual inflation. Architects often have a tendency to go for impressive titles and formulate complex structures that they believe to be superior to anything else. Here it is often important to ask this person of his team achievements with them as participant, not as a leader. This often brings the architect back to reality. Since I had this happening twice to me I know that this really works
So you can see that looking good can have many reasons and that sometimes we can help to deflate the situation, but in the same time we always need to know that we need to be careful to get professional help in some cases.