Posts Tagged ‘ managing down ’


You’ve worked for this promotion and recognition for quite some time.  Now, you have been assigned to a leadership position.  You feel you have what it takes to lead.

And then…………sometimes questions creep in.  Do you feel like an imposter?  Pretending to be a grownup?  Struggle with managing up?  Face challenges managing down?

How do you think we learn to think of ourselves as “little” or “not enough” or “less than”?  Or like the “big bully”?

More often than not, it begins in our families of origin.  We’re the youngest one, babied and teased.   And when we’re ready to take on responsibility and even leadership, we question our right to be in this role.  Am I up to it?  Am I smart enough?  We might be easily intimidated by our supervisor.  We might have trouble giving difficult feedback and sustaining leadership with our direct reports.

One aspect that determined our ability to take on leadership and to feel comfortable with others as leaders in authority is learned in our family.  Related to birth order, and gender and the timing of our birth.  Were you the big brother?  The care taking big sister?  The silly baby?  The girl, in a family of boys, prized in your ethnic group.    Were you raised in a time of economic security or in a time of uncertainty in your family?

All of these aspects of family are worth reviewing to understand your styles as a leader.  Then we have to decide – Is today a different time?  Are we in a different organization/system?  Can we risk taking on new behaviors and roles to attain the goals we most want to reach?

Effective leadership, from the inside out, requires us to explore ourselves in our family of origin as well as our willingness to try on new roles in the present…….to create a new future for ourselves.  And to lead that organization to success.

Share