Free to Transition

In his book, The Anxious Organization, Jeffrey Miller warns us about the futility of attempting to change someone else’s behavior in order to relieve our own anxiety. It does not work. When young in the management roles, this is precisely what I did; and I thought I was right.

Thinking back, I may have even believed it was my obligation to change those whom I managed. Throughout those young years as a manager I received a lot of supervisory training. To be fair, I will claim no memory of how the material was presented and claim total accountability and responsibility for how I applied it. It was applied – way too consistently for comfortable memory – in a manner that I felt gave me more control over the behavior of others.

When the learning began I do not remember, but I found freedom in the realization that you manage things and you lead people. Letting go of the need to change others gave me safety in learning to change my own behavior. Entering the transition from managing people to leading people gave me the privilege of creating caring accountability in self first and then in others – accountability rooted in individual confidence.

This is the New Confidence.

7 thoughts on “Free to Transition

  1. So true Jeff. People want to be lead and by no means want to be managed.
    I think we all fall into this trap at one time or another in our lives….thanks for sharing!

  2. I love this distinction between managing and leadership. I find it is such a typical reaction to try to get control over others when people are anxious. I see it all the time in my work in psychotherapy and coaching–and then the work becomes finding ways for the person to feel less anxious and more confident–then they can surrender that need to control.

  3. Jeff, such wisdom! I believe this is a lesson we all learn at some point. It is amazing how much energy it can zap from you when you have the emphasis placed on what so-and-so is doing wrong, rather than on what we can control–our own attitudes and behavior. Imagine if this New Confidence spilled over to our world leadership?! Thanks, Jeff.

  4. Perfect. Your thoughts here remind me of ‘servant leadership.’ I think that those folks make the very best leaders. I also think that if leaders are not there, if they just can’t make the leap to the ‘New Confidence,’ they would be best served by seeking professional help so that they can get there! We need all the genuinely confident leaders we can get these days so ALL can shine!

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