If your house is anything like mine, tucked away somewhere in the attic or the basement is a Halloween box.
This week, you are probably repacking the spooky decorations, scary costumes, masks and accessories; storing them away with another year’s trick-or-treat memories.
Some of us, though, keep our masks on all year-long. We hide our real selves from the people around us. We think that if people really knew us, they might not think that we deserve the positions of leadership we have. Our masks are not made of latex or plastic, but of insecurity, fear, and mistrust.
The Mask of Insecurity
People who are insecure worry they might not be “good enough” to face challenges that come up in everyday life.
They might feel helpless to solve problems or face conflict. Insecure people often suffer from low self-esteem or lack self-confidence.These feelings run counter to the self-assurance needed to be a strong leader.
Being confident in oneself supports an environment where the opinions of others are welcomed, rather than being viewed as a threat.
Livestrong.com offers some great tips to help identify and overcome insecurity.
If you are someone you know wears the mask of insecurity, read the article for some helpful hints to bravely put that mask away for good.
The Mask of Fear
Often times, fear can keep us from being fully open to the people around us. We may fear specific tasks, such as giving feedback or dealing with conflict.We might fear making the wrong decision or losing our influence. Some people might fear making a mistake while trying to make a difference in a new leadership role.
In his article, The Leader’s Journey From Fear to Self-Confidence, Arthur Petty reminds us that removing the mask of fear is an important step in growth and succeeding as leaders.
Followers don’t expect us to be perfect, but they do expect us to face our fears, learn, and improve.
The Mask of Mistrust
We’ve all heard that great leaders inspire trust. However, trust is a two-way street. The leader must also demonstrate trust in the people she is surrounded by. We must trust their motivations, their abilities, and their loyalties.
A leader’s trust in her followers motivates them communicate openly, to perform at peak levels, even going above and beyond in times of crisis.
If, however, a leader hides behind the mask of distrust, then he creates an environment based on fear and survivorship, not mutual support and success.
Putting the Masks Away
If leaders put their masks away and dwell in authenticity, their leadership and followership relationships will be strengthened. In his article Authentic Leadership, Kevin Cashman describes these five touchstones of authenticity:
Know Yourself Authentically
Instead of focusing on finding the right partner, friend or co-worker, focus on being the right one.
Authentic listening opens the platform for true synergy and team effectiveness
Share your true voice in words and actions
Appreciation energizes people and makes people want to exceed their goals and perceived limits
When we move from control to service, we acknowledge that we’re not the sole origin of achievement
Even with the most expensive Halloween costumes, the masks are never as good as the real thing. Your team would much rather know the authentic you than the insecurity, fear, and mistrust you might be hiding behind. You and your team will benefit once those masks are put away for good.
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Image Sources: masksz.com