Workplace Ego & You

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Problems with leadership often boil down to issues of fear: fear of humiliation, fear of mistakes, fears of perception, fear of weakness, fear of incompetence, fear of failure…and these fears can dictate how we lead and respond to those we lead.

Consider this: our culture tells us that a promotion means that person is ‘accomplished,’ that they have something that makes them better — hence the promotion. This tends to inflate one’s opinion of oneself, even if just subconsciously, and can simultaneously cause one to over-inflate their value, or even to suddenly question their worthiness. As a result, this promotion can affect relationship dynamics: how the one promoted treats the others, or perhaps even the way the other treats them in return.

If you have been recently elevated to a position of authority in your organization, it is extremely important to take time to ask yourself a powerful question: What are you most afraid of in this new role? Think critically about the obstacles or challenges that are going to trip you up.  Consider with explicit detail how you are going to define both your leadership style and your behavior around your coworkers. The truth is, your behavior is going to change whether you are mindful of the change or not, so it’s in your best interest to pay attention — because when you don’t, it’s often your fears and doubts that captain the leader-ship.

For the first 12 months, get in the habit on your drive home of asking yourself a few questions: Are you treating those under you with respect? Are you honoring their competence and expertise? Are you behaving as the leader you dream of being? Rate yourself on a scale of 1 (horrible) to 10 (fan-tab-ulous). Then, for anything less than a 10, ask yourself what would have made it a 10. Let the whole process only take a few minutes — five at most. Then watch your leadership thrive and your team be grateful for your promotion.

And if by chance you aren’t the one that got the promotion, remember this: you are still a leader.  You can ask similar questions about your fears and those of the teammate who did get promoted. In doing so, you’ll become conscious of some of the obstacles and pitfalls that might trip up progress and success of the team. And you might just be the catalyst that helps the new leader thrive.