You work hard to get to the position you see yourself achieving. Whether that position involves leading the team which you were once a member of, or getting hired as a head of an organization, rising up in professional ranking takes committed hard work. Achieving what we work hard for is a pleasant feeling. We feel validated, our ambitious vision is now aligned with reality, and we feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment. These feelings can encourage you to act in ways that others perceive as prideful. Your new-found importance can cause you to take others less seriously than you take yourself. Your word will yearn to be the final one in conversations, your decisions will be taken as truth, and your leadership will be sought by others.
Should you find yourself in a powerful position of leadership, be careful how you perceive yourself in relation to the ones around you. This article hopes to explain why your behavior should increase in humility the higher you climb up on the corporate ladder. Rather than treating the position you have attained as something you deserve, aim to consider it a privilege a lucky few get to experience.
Disdain for Authority
There seems to be a natural inkling toward challenging authority in people. We aim to maintain our sense of control, and those who disturb that sense are naturally questioned. We question and criticize the decisions those who lead us make, and constantly look out for our well-being above all else. Whether you believe all humans are afflicted by this feeling towards authority is up to you, but the fact that this feeling exists in some should encourage you to plan for it. In order to negate this feeling in others, we should strive to downplay the authority that we attain over others.
Controlling the disdain for authority in those around you will result in being challenged less, being trusted more, and achieving an overall sense acceptance from those you lead. There are many ways to downplay your authority over others. If you are a higher-up within an organization, thoroughly listening to the ideas of those beneath you is one way to downplay your authority. Allowing those beneath you to take ownership over important milestones is another. Allowing them to take credit for work you would normally take credit for can do the job as well.
Whichever method of downplaying your authority you decide to implement, they all depend on you establishing a sense of privilege rather than pride. Embracing your privilege, and luck, surrounding the position you find yourself in will naturally result in downplayed authoritative behavior. You will understand the responsibility which you possess, but won’t bask in it. This understanding of responsibility will encourage you to treat those beneath you as if they’re as important as you are in what they do, because they very well could be.
They Will Choose to Follow Rather Than Be Forced
Think of the music that you listen to on the way to work, during your workout, or while doing chores at home. Who are currently your go-to artists? By following your musical interests, you’ve landed on repeatedly listening to the current list of artists. Would you feel the same about these artists if you were forced to listen to them rather than choosing to on your own accord? Being forced to listen to – or follow – others, shapes our perception differently than if we were to decide to do so for ourselves.
In your position of power, encourage others’ choice to follow your lead rather than force them to. The simple act of treating your superiority as a privilege will restrict you from implementing forceful methods of control over others. You’ll be fair in the approaches you take toward progress, and will rely on others developing interest in your methods of leading. Do not make an impression that your position of power differentiates you from those beneath you, even if it does. Yearn to have the acknowledgement and advertisement of the power which you hold be done by others rather than yourself. Your success in influencing those around you depends on establishing , and maintaining, their feeling of importance.
Encourage ownership of their choice to follow your lead. Think back to what makes you follow what your favorite artists and leaders do. Other than the production of a quality product – the product being leadership in your case – you should give people reasons to relate to you. Allow others to see a version of themselves in you by striving to always be relatable. The act of allowing a position of superiority to visibly set you apart from those you lead will entice them to group themselves against you rather than back you as their relatable leader.
In the News
You can read our analyses of current events by becoming a Patron.