Often, when you
interact with someone who is your senior, you feel less than equal
to them. You think they know more and should receive deferential treatment
due to their higher level position in the company. This type of behavior
surrenders too much power to the senior person, especially when it's
not necessary in your relationship.
This is the
mind-set you exhibit when you feel inferior to someone senior:
I don't know
as much as you do, so I'll maintain a low profile.
I have an over-compensating
desire to please and give my superiors what they want.
I am afraid
to share my ideas because they will be rejected or looked down upon.
I feel threatened
and intimidated by your presence.
I don't want
to disagree or say something that might be seen as "not being
a team player."
I lack confidence
in my abilities and am afraid I'll mess up.
I give my power
to you so what you say, do and want is unchallenged.
I provide too
much information to prove to you that I know a lot about the subject.
This is the
mind-set you exhibit when you feel equal to someone senior:
I feel on equal
ground and that we both have something to contribute to the relationship.
I don't give
my power away, but use it as an asset.
I have great
ideas that may be different than yours and we are all working together
to reach a solution.
I am curious
and open to our relationship.
I am willing
and wanting to bring my thoughts and ideas to the conversation.
I am open to
listening to and considering the other person's perspective.
I am willing
to disagree and say something that might be contrary.
I feel confident
of my abilities and want to share them.
someone senior has more influence, authority and power, doesn't mean
you should act differently around them. Almost all senior executives
prefer to have someone who feels they are on equal ground because
these types of people won't be afraid to speak the truth or voice
opinions that might be seen as contrary to popular ideas. Senior managers
trust people who provide valuable intelligence or insight. They won't
let job titles or rank get in the way of making good decisions.
When you feel
inferior to someone who is senior, you create the perception that
you don't belong at the next level. If leaders don't see you as an
equal, they question why you should be on the same playing field as
them. This directly impacts your ability to advance in the company.
In the movie Hoosiers,
a small town basketball team, who is used to playing in front of small
home-town crowds, makes it to the state finals. They will be playing
in front of 20,000 people, against a much bigger school with bigger
players and greater talent. The first thing the coach of the Hoosiers
team does is take them to the huge arena where the state finals will
be played. He asks his players to pull up a chair and measure the
height of the hoop. "How tall is it?" he asks. They say
ten feet. The coach asks them how tall is the basketball hoop in their
tiny home gym. They reply, 10 feet. There is no difference to playing
on the court at home and playing on the court in front of 20,000 people.
There is no difference between someone senior than you, except what
you make them to be.
You have skills
and talents that the senior people don't have and you need to see
yourself as an equal. You have a point of view and something to say.
Come up with all the things you are good at and what you do better
than others. Embrace these so you can express your confidence and
not give it away to people in position of power.
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