How do you respond when someone says “You’re wrong”? Do you whip out your boxing gloves or start wagging your tail?
I have to admit, I’m more of a tail-wagger, so I am likely to take all opinions into consideration, even the ones that don’t deserve it. If you are on the “boxing glove” side of the spectrum, you may have such strong self-confidence that you ignore all opinions, even those that merit consideration. In a management role, going to extremes with either tendency can be dangerous and jeopardize trust among your employees.
To help move the pendulum closer to center, implement one or more of the following strategies:
1. Find someone who cares about you but will tell you the truth. John Blakey calls this person your “sheriff.” This person can help you gain some perspective on the situation and keep you from beating yourself up.
2. Take time to consider the situation. Get some space (physically and emotionally). In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to react with an extreme version of your natural tendency. Abraham Lincoln reportedly wrote out his thoughts in “hot letters” which he kept to himself until he was in a cooler temper.
3. Spend time in self-reflection and development. Personality assessments such as DISC or Meyers-Briggs are great places to start. Once you know what side of the spectrum you lean toward, you can develop practices and safeguards to bring you back to center.
In the end, the goal is not to eliminate your natural tendencies – they are part of what makes you a great leader! The goal is growth and greater self-awareness which will make you stronger and more trustworthy. Your team doesn’t want to follow someone who’s always right – they want to follow someone they can trust.
Meet the author
With a diverse background in leadership, teaching, communication, and program management, Melinda Siems brings a wealth of knowledge and practical experience to our work. We’re thrilled to welcome her to the team and leverage her expertise and talents as we continually seek to better serve you.
STETTNER, M. (2016, July 8). Rather Than Brush Over Mistakes, Leaders Confront Them Head-On. Investors Business Daily, 1.
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