Leaders who don’t know the territory of their inner world are bound to project their unconscious bias, fears, insecurities, triggers and shortcomings onto their staff. Being aware of these aspects of your leadership will help you see and take responsibility for your effect on others and your organization.
Where does your power lie?
- Do you defer to external authority? Or internal authority?
- What kind of authority are you?
- How do you lead?
- How would people you lead say you make them feel?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might want to think about them. If you don’t know yourself, others can offer you insight. They see you in ways you might be refusing to see yourself. We all have blind spots. Some of us (white folks) have privilege that can blind us to our entitlement, power and benefits as we live in a society that has been set up for white folks to succeed above others.
More than ever, people at work are stressed.
When a leader has a pattern of unconsciously projecting their power in relationships, (blaming, having favourites, acting from insecurities, dominating meetings etc.) a toxic culture of competition and power-games can result. Nobody wants to own someone else’s shit. Some folks fight back through leaving the company, others gossip or avoid direct contact with the leader.
Stressed out leaders who neglect or abuse themselves or their staff (through addictions and behaviour like overwork, gaslighting, racism and privilege, toxic masculinity, founder syndrome, lack of self-care or awareness, etc.) are ineffective, burn themselves out, and damage or burn out their people.
People can be in abusive relationships at work. For resources on how to work for a narcissist boss, visit this great article from the Harvard Business Review, or this highly practical article for 15 Signs of a Narcissistic Boss & 10 Ways to Deal With Them.
OTHER HELPFUL ARTICLES
- Personal Ecology Tools and Resources – Robert Gass
- How Toxic Masculinity Is Ruining Your Workplace Culture: When leaders fail to see how toxic masculinity influences their teams’ dynamics, the whole organization will fail. Holly Althof March 6, 2021
- Learning to let go: Understanding Founder’s Syndrome and Overcoming Founder’s Syndrome: Practical tips for founders, boards of directors and employees Susan Fish 2018
- Gaslighting on the Job?: 7 Ways to Know if Your Workplace is Abusive Shannon Weber June 1, 2018
- 5 signs you’re in an abusive employment relationship (and what to do about it) Xander Hough November 13, 2018
Stina Brown embodies cutting edge work in visioning and creativity for individuals, teams and organizations, bringing passion, professionalism and precision to all that she does. ~Robert Gass
Neglect and Self Abuse in the Name of High Performance
When we push ourselves to perform – we often neglect or bypass our personal needs to get things done. This is often rewarded and encouraged – seen as “dedication” or “commitment” or “grit” in workplaces addicted to overwork. Stina’s first job after graduating with a communications degree was at an oil and gas acquisitions and divestiture firm in Calgary as their editor for $15 an hour. They called a 12-hour day a “half-day” and it was an expected norm.
One of my Executive Director clients worked 80 hours a week to make her non-profit succeed. In their Board strategic planning, I told the Board they had a full time ED and a full time volunteer in one person – and if they wanted to keep their (totally amazing) ED, they needed to cut HALF of what they were doing. They did (that day!) – and they are one of the most effective NGO’s I’ve worked with. Nobody does anything well 80 hours a week (except moms!).
Pushing our performance in sprints is to be expected – but it’s become the (white supremacist) culture of urgency that normalizes: overwork, giving everything to our jobs, sacrificing relationships – and joking about it along the way (how many memes and gifs exist about overwork?). This is one reason dedicated leaders and change agents are burning out like never before.
Stina is a master at guiding a group through the really deep work of exploring personal and professional challenges and vulnerabilities that stand in the way of progress. She creates a structure for the work that is inquisitive, comprehensive, safe, and fun. She makes what could be an otherwise very draining experience feel uplifting. Succinctly: She creates a space to tackle the everyday challenges that often feel daunting to professionals and turn them into transformative exploration and discovery. ~ NGO Strategic Planning Client
Stina helps leaders see, study, and support themselves – in service of their visions for what the world can be. She designs and leads processes to create new human capacity and well-being, new shared awareness, new relationships, new trust, new vision, new clarity, and new plans. Read more about me here