Last year we worked with a group that was led by a young manager. He had a rather strong, imposing personality. What he said, people did. While the group functioned well together, it was clear that they were somewhat intimidated by their manager.
The manager participated in the activity, joining one of the five teams competing against each other. It was clear that the manager had a difficult time getting out of “boss mode” and into the spirit of the team building activity. He had a hard time asking for help and trouble delegating responsibility. As a result of his challenges, his team placed last.
Leadership can be a scary, lonely place. It’s easy to mask insecurities by adopting an authoritative approach. While fear can be used as a short term tactic for generating a sense of urgency, it doesn’t bode well for an overall positive work environment.
If you recognized yourself in this story, you’re in a good place. Recognition is a healthy first step towards positive change. Next, spend some time brainstorming what it is that you are afraid of. Is it criticism? Failure? The burden of responsibility? Once identified, you are in a good place for taking positive steps towards change. Talk about your fears to a trusted mentor or friend. Then research strategies for overcoming your fear and put them into action. Soon you will find your team transformed.