3 Ways Leaders Undermine Their Work

Which internal tendencies are inhibiting your life right now?

What insecurities or self-imposed sabotage are keeping you from being the healthiest, best version of you?

Inhibition: 2 Sides of the Same Coin

If you think about it, self-control and self-sabotage are two sides of the same coin we call “inhibition.” A healthy degree of “inhibition” results in self-restraint, which helps us make wise choices while also avoiding costly mistakes, particularly in the face of emotionally charged decisions and situations. Unhealthy inhibition, or “self-sabotage,” on the other hand, causes us to miss opportunities for growth, joy, productivity, and progress.

This kind of inhibition consists of the self-imposed, internal limits we adopt out of fear or uncertainty. They have an insidious way of crippling our lives unnecessarily, compelling us to take ourselves out of the game, or the work, or the relationship despite a lack of outside prohibitions and obstacles.

Let’s take a look at three tendencies that often sprout like a thorn in our side, slowing us down and undermining our influence and self-respect.

1. Sometimes I don’t believe I have what it takes to do what I do or accomplish what needs to be done.

Self-doubt shows up like a plague at the strangest times, causing us to indulge in either wallowing self-pity or inhibitive insecurities. Neither emotion is productive or helpful, and both have a tendency to leave us trapped in a pit of despair. They cast doubt on anything and everything, sometimes reaching our foundational beliefs and self-concept. When this happens, we reach a state of paralysis. We second guess our passions or our work, and struggle to bring out best to the table.

2. When my emotions get “stuck,” they cause me to become irrational and passive aggressive.

This emotional “grinding of gears” often comes from unmet expectations. When we expect something to happen that doesn’t play out the way we envisioned, we can become frustrated and take it out on others. Expectations generate a sense of certainty, like a promise that some person, situation, or achievement is already in our grasp. Therefore, when reality falls short of those expectations, we feel robbed. Cheated. Maybe even dishonored or conspired against by the universe and others.  Such a state of frustration can lead to oversensitivity, unfounded assumptions, and passive aggression – all of which undermine our ability to feel confident in future expectations of people or results.

3. When things are going really well, I sometimes to take my foot off the gas and get a bit lazy. I’m usually very intentional and focused, but every now and then I can become lethargic.

Sometimes success becomes our greatest challenge. Once we finally think we have all the plates spinning as they should, it’s tempting to let off the gas and adopt a mindset of maintenance or status quo. Ironically, this tendency in and of itself can be the very thing that dampens our passion and hinders our drive for continual improvement. Similarly, once we find ourselves unproductive, it’s easy to end up in an odd place of both lackadaisical motivation, as well as discontented restlessness.

These three simple tendencies all too often prevent us from bringing our best to the realms of work, relationships, and personal growth.

The Action Plan

Now that we know the problems, the action plan is simple, though difficult to put into practice. If we are to overcome the aforementioned self-imposed inhibitions, then we must commit to the following:

  1. Act Like I belong instead of believing I don’t.
  2. Watch my emotions and become self-controlled rather than being led by my frustrations.
  3. When times are good, I plan to become more intentional, not less. I will make sure to distinguish between restful recharge and lethargic complacency.

So, what about you?

Will you take up vigilance against these pitfalls? Or will you allow negative inhibitions to limit the growth in your life?

The choice is yours.

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how your inhibitions affect your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!