The fastest way to derail your success at work is to make a habit of getting into power struggles with folks. It may make you feel good to lock horns with people, but expect to suffer negative consequences for doing this – both from the person you’re sparring with, as well as others around you. To get a grip on your behavior, kick your negative attitudes to the curb.
- You’re Not the Boss
No matter how legitimate your issue is, step back and take a reality check: You’re not in control of your workplace. You probably think you should be in charge and that you could do a better job of running things, but the reality is that you’re not. There’s an imbalance of power in many workplaces and, while shared power and decision-making might make a lot of people happier, that’s usually not the setting they’re working in. So realize and accept that the final resolution of whatever cause you’re championing will probably not be up to you. Look for less contentious ways of making your point. And expect any negative behavior you exhibit to be the subject of discussion on your next performance evaluation – if not sooner.
- Other People Have Opinions Too
In addition to your boss or leadership team, your coworkers have strong feelings about issues too. They’re probably willing to debate with you, but no one wants to be browbeat and arm-twisted so you can get your way. This approach only causes people to avoid you or, worse yet, to become determined to thwart you. Even those who aren’t involved are likely to become turned off and unwilling to support you for new roles and opportunities. Be tolerant of other points of view and remain open to reconsidering your own as you learn new information.
- Your Anger Is Showing
Whether you’re sparring with your boss or with colleagues, understand that you’re portraying yourself as an angry individual who is not managing emotions and workplace relationships well. This anger causes tunnel vision and keeps you from pursuing more effective ways of influencing authority or teammates. And, though you may not like it, there are times when you just have to let stuff go. If you feel compelled to keep wrangling – even in the face of negative consequences, it’s time to get professional help.
Many people have workplace concerns that they want to address, but getting locked into power struggles with others is not the way to champion your cause. Recognize when you’re not operating from the position of power, rein in your anger, and have the wisdom to let the battle go.
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About the Author:
Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant specializing in Success Psychology.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,
The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317