It starts as a child - our internal thoughts are shaped by the approving look, lack of acknowledgement, or glare of judgement from our parents or guardians.
That doesn’t go away when we enter the workforce.
If leadership acknowledges a job well done, we are automatically happier with the work completed. If it is either ignored or denigrated, we tend to think less or downplay the effort, regardless of how hard we worked.
This ties to our internal self-worth and our perceived value within the organization or office.
Whether placed in a leadership position or not, we must individually realize the deleterious effect of looking to other’s opinions to establish our worth.
First and foremost, it is imperative for you to know without a shadow of a doubt there is no one else in this entire world with your skills and personality combination.
You are valuable just being you.
This means that even though you may not be pulling A+ work in everyone’s eyes every moment of the day, you have something to contribute.
Because no one else can do what you do.
This realization brings understanding as well as responsibility; responsibility to know yourself (self-awareness) and your internal compass (moral perspective).
Knowing who you are and what you believe will ensure you put your best forward, regardless of what leadership does or doesn’t do. This is because you have anchored yourself into something greater than the opinions or others.
When we know our capabilities and believe in what we have been given, we will know our worth, even if the boss is lacking.
Put quite simply, people who know their worth are not deflated when poor leadership does not respond appropriately.
Here are three important tips to learn more about yourself and grow, despite the behaviors of poor leadership:
Stir the ashes: Intentionally set aside time to go over each day as it ends. This can be the last few minutes of work hours, or just before bedtime. If you like writing, journal impressions of your thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and the triggers you recognized throughout the day. If writing is not your thing, then review it in your mind. Pick at least one situation and ask yourself three “W” questions: What were my thoughts in this situation? What were my behaviors in this situation? What would I do differently if the same situation were to occur again? The act of thinking through a scenario enacts understanding of who you are, as well as giving yourself permission to change behaviors.
Identify your triggers: Our physical body responds to our emotions much faster than our cognition realizes what’s going on. For example, the heart may start racing before we realize we are nervous. We were given our bodies with the intention to learn about, care for, and dominate it, not let it dominate us. Paying attention to physical manifestations in certain situations helps identify who you are and why you do certain things. If you don’t like what you do after your palms get sweaty, determine a different response and pay attention to the next time your palms start to get a bit clammy.
Lock into something greater: We must realize that left to our own devices, we will not reach our full aptitude. There must be an anchor outside of ourselves to keep us steady and provide strength and insight when we have none. Be intentional about what you believe and continually build on it. Make sure it isn’t a person or group of people, but a set of beliefs that transcends the muck and mire of the human condition.
Know you are the only one who can do what you can.
The only one.
Now go out and do it!