Few things are more demoralizing for someone with drive than a manager who intentionally stifles their potential, says Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha!, in a recent LinkedIn post. But unfortunately, there are so many bosses who do this every day.
Why? They feel threatened and scared.
“For most bosses … management is just the next rung on the ladder,” writes de Haaff. “But the skills required to get a career going are very different than the ones that are needed to be a great leader. The transition is not easy and can create self-doubt. And if your manager begins to doubt his abilities, fear will take over and strangle good judgment.”
These bosses panic about being exposed as someone who doesn’t actually have what it takes to be a good leader, and they spend tons of energy ensuring that they do not look weak to their boss or peers, de Haaff explains. This makes you, the employee, a major threat, because as you succeed in your role, your boss worries that it may draw attention to their inability to do the same.
“If you have lived through this before, you know that the one sign your boss fears you is more obvious than most people might think.”
The sign: Your boss asks you to send everything to them first.
For instance, they may ask you to run emails by them before you send them to clients, or request that you show them projects you’ve completed before submitting them to upper management.
“Instead of enabling you to reach your highest potential, a manager who is gripped with fear will be nervous that you may expose him,” de Haaff writes. So they will stand in the way of you getting work done and building work relationships.
“Fear is one of the most powerful of all human emotions,” he writes. “Even the most well intentioned manager will completely change his behaviour in an attempt to compensate for fear.”
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