Is Your Team Living in the Shadows?

Is your success intimidating those you lead?

If you are a leader and you have a lot of successes under your belt, you’re likely being admired. When taking the lead of your team, early on, most of the people on it were probably impressed with your accomplishments. But, if you have been leading a particular team for a while, those same successes can be intimidating your team.

If you have notable successes under your belt, you should take pride in your hard work and accomplishments. But, those on your team that are still striving for success can begin to resent you when they feel they may never measure up to you and your level of success.

When impression turns to intimidation, it will eventually lead to irritation and your influence will suffer. Here is a simple four step action plan to avoid this situation:

  1. First, do a humility check.

  • Find someone who will speak truth into your life and ask them if there is anything about you and your behaviors that might be perceived as a lack of humility to others.

  1. Secondly, practice being humble.

  • Share your struggles more than you do your successes. People will admire you for your success, but will love you for sharing how you overcame your failures. Think about it for a minute. We all know people who are successful at something. We are genuinely moved and inspired when someone that we thought had it all together when they share their past weaknesses and failures. People are seeking inspiration more than to be impressed.

  1. The third thing to do is to be an intentional coach who inspires and lets your team know you will be there with them in their failures as well as their successes. Educate yourself with stories of great achievement that came through great failures. You can use them to inspire others when they are struggling.

  • Set them up to win, but let them know you’ll be in their corner when they fail. Let them know failure is inevitable and that all of the greats are great because they overcame failure. Tell them to stay with it despite failure. Quitting before the job is done is failure but success is the progressive realization of achieving the goal.

  1. Fourth, be a reader of your team, individually and collectively.

  • Seek to understand them. Instead of trying to get them to understand you let them know you genuinely care about them, their ideas, their struggles, and their goals. This type of leadership is the high road leadership. It takes more effort and more sacrifice, but the payoff will be a high performing team that learns to celebrate each other’s successes and support each other in their failures.

If your team is playing small or if unhealthy competition exists, create an environment that has no place for shadows. Celebrate victories, talk about the struggles that got you there and turn them into tools for learning.

Be real, be honest, and care enough to help your team succeed by allowing them to talk about their failures without fear of being rejected, ridiculed, and isolated. Unhealthy self-esteem thrives in the shadows where there is fear, worry, and confusion at times. Share your past feelings of fear and insecurity. Let others know you are human and that those feelings are to be expected. Teach them to step into the light, that the environment you live and work in is safe.

Often times in our attempt to make others feel better about themselves, we adopt wrong behaviors, like shrinking back and displaying false humility. We should always strive to shine, but avoid outshining others. Fuel their flame with your light.

Let them experience some of the benefits of your success. Take someone with you to an important conference or training event. Take them on a field trip when you are handling an important meeting or event. Give them a taste of something they may never have been a part of before.

Don’t be afraid to let your light shine, help your team to find their light, and let them shine too!

Remove obstacles in the minds of your team and your team won’t live in the shadows any more.

Marianne Williamson said it best in her famous poem: What is Your Greatest Fear?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same….”

Use your torch to light the torches of others and light up the whole place!

Be real, do the hard work, and trust the outcome! Be the leader you would follow!

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