learning to trust my own opinions and expertise
I’ve been searching for an example in my work life where I have lost my temper, thrown a tantrum, yelled at someone… any example where I have behaved apallingly like a child. And I can’t think of a single one.
Which is not to say I always behave impeccably, but I don’t have that Big Boss (talking generic Big Boss here, people) ability to yell at people, belittle their contribution, or generally make my displeasure felt through enraged ranting and raving. What amazes me about this kind of behavior is that it doesn’t seem to impact negatively on the Big Boss’s leadership persona, or the loyalty of staff, or the productivity of a workplace. Perhaps this isn’t true, but it seems to be. Anti-social behavior is written off as authenticity, frankness etc.
Is there perhaps a certain way of behaving badly that somehow isn’t as unprofessional as it may seem to an outsider, or that, when put together with a dedication to product or purpose becomes understandable and pardonable?
It is impossible to imagine that I could ever throw a tantrum at any staff, and that if I did, the question becomes how on earth would I keep together my team, who operate effectively in a space of trust, respect and support? I have worked with team members whose bad behavior, and easy dismissal of other’s efforts, has had a terrible effect on morale and productivity. If I, as a leader, were to act like that, I cannot see how my team would have the confidence to put forward new ideas, to act with independence and to develop as individual professionals and a cohesive team.
I do, however, harbor a certain envy for the directness that comes alongside this behavior. I would never wish to put another down, to carelessly damage another, and I think to a point this can hold me back from giving direct criticism. It is a fear of hurting people that I value, that maybe my comments might be overblown in a team member’s mind so that they believe I see no worth in them at all.
As I write this it becomes clear that I am underestimating the strength and resilience of my team in coping with purposeful criticism, at the same time as indulgently overstating the impact I might have on any one person’s feelings of self-worth.
And really, I think that this is where my inclusive and supportive leadership style actually has built for me the protection of a strong faith and trust from my team. An understanding that I do not ever act to put people down, or cause a fuss with no reason.
Then this will be my challenge. To express myself with more confidence, to voice displeasure and step in to provide corrections with authority, and overall to trust in my team’s ability to understand that my message is never a personal attack.
Give trust, and act in a way deserving of trust.
The Lounge this week is talking about adult tantrums and hissy-fits. This is my contribution, Grand-Reflections style. Other posts, over at Robomum, are bound to be less contemplative, more funny.