MAY 15, 2015 by David Potter
Be the best version of you.
Category : Breaking Mindset

I recently said to a Professor in Management studies who specialised in Leadership that I felt that some senior and middle managers suffered from low levels of self esteem and carried with them negative baggage in terms of limiting beliefs. She turned to me in surprise and replied “  only some…..?” Wow….this reply or rather question made me think.

I ‘think’  that sometimes we forget (whomever ‘ we ‘ are?) that managers are human beings and as such they come with all the idiosyncratic psychological baggage that we humans are all burdened with? I think all managers have a really tough time as they try to live up to the hyper standards of expected management we regularly read in the broad sheets of the executive vacancy sections. Try this out for example as a fairly typical executive job advert;

“Looking for a fantastic challenge? Are you dynamic, confident, socially intelligent and a high achiever? Can you lead teams to exceptional results ? Do you lead by example and stand for outstanding ethical values? If you can answer yes to these questions then we would like to hear from you. We are seeking a talented transformational leader to provide our people with the vision and stamina to make that vision a reality to take us to the next level. Please contact John  Noidea for a chat prior to impressing us with your application.”

Oh dear……..are they seeking the prophet returned to this earth to lead humanity to the promised land? Kind of sounds like that. What chance has a mere  human being got of living up to such exacting standards? None. Absolutely none. Let me repeat zilch…nana ….zero….no chance. Yet these ridiculous pseudo identity demands dominate western management. There are consequences of this kind of nonsense and illustrate that  David Brent was no exaggeration. Ricky Gervais got his material from that most abundant resource “management lives“.

As we mortal managers try to live out these pseudo identities authored by those who would not know what executive operational leadership either looks or feels like,  we are faced with internal fears and doubts which we must keep deeply hidden so that our pseudo leadership identities do not crash to the ground and shatter into many tiny shards of glitter.

As part of our daily management lives we meet the aggressive manager who challenges our self identity; we have to prepare for that meeting were people may be present who doubt us ; we may have to build and deliver that critical presentation to important stakeholders; we may have to compete for that big job; we may have an antagonistic bully who does politics better than us and paints us in a negative light; and finally we may simply think other people have more right to be heard than we do ourselves. These are just some of the limiting dynamics we face each day as executive managers that often we keep deeply hidden inside of ourselves and suffer in silence. But do we?

I used to self medicate as a manager through the daily rehashing of my experiences mediated through intense gossip with trusted colleagues. We were a cabal that formed around a common enemy ‘all the bosses’ . We intensely audited, reviewed and acutely analysed our managent lives and the asymmetrical power relationships that often ensnared us. We indulged in ‘mind reading’ as we ‘knew’ what the others were thinking; we sat in judgement of those we did not like; we made little effort to understand let alone respect their world views; our results were the fault of others; lack of rapport with significant others was their fault not ours and finally we expected others to match our behavioural and attitudinal standards and if they did not then we were not a happy bunch.

What did this self medication do for us? Well it etched its destructive impact on our body habitus, our facial expressions, our tonality , our attitudes and our behaviours. In short it solved nothing and left us pretty much unhappy. Then it all changed. I discovered NLP.

I was aware of NLP vaguely as I saw it referenced in literature that I reviewed as part of my PhD. I thought it was a set of practical methods that could influence change in an organisation. I was partially correct. NLP is concerned with change ; at the level of the self. NLP can help you literally change the thought patterns that drive ones attitudes and thus ones behaviours. It is rooted in hypnotherapy,  cognitive psychology and sociology. It involves deconstructing and re constructing beliefs, values and assumptions. It is in many ways a life style philosophy which initially can be when internalised truly transformational and thereafter utterly stabilising. It's real power is that it helps one realise that ultimately we choose our attitudes, that our thoughts and experiences are not real; they are social constructions and we can shape the meanings we attribute to life experiences at will. This process for me was amazing and it led to me qualifying as a Master NLP Practitioner.

I made my peace with those whom I felt had wronged me over the years and undoing so I took control of my emotional choices and literally transformed many of my relationships for the better. I now want to share the skills I have learned and work with others who are sick of letting negative thoughts, limiting beliefs and poor relations hold them back. I can change, I did change and I can work with you to also change and emerge as the best version of you.

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