I work in a relatively small office, which I like because I get to do lots of different things. As I’ve advanced, my boss increasingly confides in me, which is flattering but when he tells me what he’s worried about it makes me anxious. Any advice? L.R., Kenilworth, NJ
One aspect of leadership that isn’t often talked about is the emotional self-management that is necessary—especially when the business is in a rough patch. The leader needs to present a consistently confident mien to the staff in order to keep them focused on what is within their control. “It’s lonely at the top,” is a truism for a reason.
Your boss is assuming that you are able to put what he’s saying in context, deal with ambiguity, and manage through anxiety. It really is an implied compliment and an opportunity to develop the emotional wherewithal you’ll need as a leader. You also are privy to information that others aren’t. That’s the upside.
You’re experiencing the downside. You have to self-manage because of the confidential nature of what he’s sharing, and it can be difficult when you also have a job to do. You can strengthen your self-management abilities through coaching, self-study, and mindfulness practices (meditation, etc.). If that isn’t an option and you don’t believe you’re ready for this level of disclosure, have a conversation with your boss. You clearly have a close and trusting relationship. Tell him about the difficulty that you’re having and ask for a change in your dynamic.
If you're wondering why corporations act as they do or would like advice on how to navigate the corporate landscape, please Ask Amanda and submit your question here.
You are welcome to reprint this article as long as you include the following in its entirety: Reprinted from “Our Corporate Life®,” a biweekly ezine featuring practical tips and tools for navigating the corporate world. Copyright © MMXVI Amanda Mitchell and Our Corporate Life LLC All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at www.takingcontrolofyourcareer.com/subscribe