I’ve heard it said that power rests best in the hands of people who never sought to gain it in the first place.
When you move up to a position where you have authority over people, its easy to forget that with that authority and power comes the responsibility to always look out for the well-being of those under your care.
Its very easy to succumb to the mentality that people are there to follow your every order, to bow to your whims, and to be subordinate in every way short of fetching you tea and biscuits.
When you feed this mentality, it gives you a false sense of pride – and we all know this cometh before the fall.
Part of that is because pride gets in the way of you being able to listen to people around you. Pride also makes it difficult for you to accept feedback, and to accept the fact that you don’t know everything and you’re not always right.
The knee-jerk reaction to being questioned is to become defensive. But actually, having your decisions questioned should not feel like an attack. I’ve actually come to look at it as like a safety net, because I know someone is there to check my actions and to make sure I don’t make the mistake of implementing things that could go horribly wrong.
I guess its hard finding that balance between asserting your authority to make sure people know to respect you, and not overly elevating yourself above the people whose respect you seek.
Respect comes from people knowing you’re there for them, that you’ll be fair and compromise when the situation calls for it but that you also have the balls to make the tough decisions when the going gets rough.
I think having the respect of your team is where your true source of power lies, and its something so precious and something that takes ages to cultivate that you never want to do anything to jeopardise that.
I suppose I just need to remind myself that being in power doesn’t give anyone license to be an autocratic bitch. The idea that authority gives you power which then means you can do whatever you want is an illusion that you should nip in the bud lest it comes back to haunt you.
A little humility goes a long way.
Stay grounded. Stay humble.