Leadership Faux Pas #1 – Taking Things Personally
In his ground-breaking book, The Four Agreements, author Don Miguel Ruiz wrote that taking things personally along with making assumptions was the equivalent of “a personal hell on earth!”
As a leader taking things personally is a path to creating a personal hell for everyone in the office … including yourself! Why?
Because taking things personally is a symptom of much deeper issues … being self-centered and having low self-esteem. How?
When you take things personally it means that you believe you are the center of everyone else’s world. You believe that what they do (or don’t do) is directly related to you, your authority, and your sense of self.
As if you were that powerful?
It gets worse … when you allow the actions of others to control your emotions (and thus your re-actions) you are saying, “How I feel will be determined by what others do or say.” When what others do and say determines how you feel (angry, sad, disappointed, happy, etc.) you are in for a roller coaster of a ride. Typically, downward with a few highs and lows in-between.
If you find yourself taking things personally here are 5 things you can do to break the cycle.
5 Actions To Stop Taking Things Personally:
- Remember it’s not about you … you are not so powerful that you can control others. You only control your own thoughts and actions.
- Read the 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
- Remember IT’S ABOUT THE BUSINESS – Being a leader is about growing the business and getting results. It’s not by controlling others … it’s about helping them reach their highest level of productivity. Being a leader isn’t a popularity contest nor is it a venue to work on your issues.
- Take an Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Assessment. Taking things personally might be an indicator of a low EQ, specifically low self-awareness and empathy. But don’t worry you can increase your EQ. If you’re really interested in learning more about this email me here and ask for more information on how to find a valid assessment (there is a lot of junk out there).
- Reclaim Your Emotional Remote – Learn to meditate. Mediation can teach you to insert space in between the stimulus and your response. You cannot rid yourself of all stressful situations but if you take back control of your emotions you will have less stressful situations in your life.
Some of us were programmed at a very early age that what we said or did determined whether others approved of us, liked us, or thought we had value.
Some of us learned we responsible for the emotions of others and if we were just good enough, perfect enough, or said the right thing, we could make them happy and then they would love us.
If we bring these old beliefs into our leadership we end up taking things personally and in the end we create a personal hell for ourselves and our people.
Maybe it’s time to change all that?