094 How shame affects leadership. Yours and theirs.

It’s everywhere around you… and likely within you. If you’re a leader, you’re even more susceptible to it. The “it”? Shame. In this episode, we’ll be talking about how shame affects leadership. Yours and theirs.

How shame affects leadership. Yours and theirs.

This week’s Inspire Me quote is from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

Shame can prevent us from moving forward with confidence, hindering our ventures. Leaders are particularly prone to shame because leaders put themselves out there, are more susceptible to criticism, and have disproportionate influence on others.

Anything that holds us back from what we really want we need to understand.

So, why is shame bad, exactly?

  • Shame distorts reality, amplifying criticism and muting praise.
  • Shame lessens your voice. 
  • Shame makes you less likely to build into others.
  • Shame harbors grudges.
  • Shame derails what’s best for the team.

What can we do about it? Remember “AAA”:

  • Assess. Develop an awareness of when shame hits you.
  • Accept. Accept yourself and your past. Remember: forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.
  • Ask. Take the posture of a learner; it increases shame-resiliency.

Quotes from the show:

  • “When reality is distorted and you start hearing criticism where there isn’t, you start multiplying critics where there’s not. Where people are neutral toward you, you behave like they are your enemies.” —Leary
  • “Shame distorts reality. They might not be a critic, but you think they are, so you role-play all the different ways they might criticize you, and, pretty soon, you hate them…. But it’s not them criticizing you; it’s your imagination about how they might be criticizing you.” —Leary
  • “You put this lens on your eyes that says, ‘This person thinks this of me,’ without you having any other facts, and every time you see them, every eyebrow raised, anytime they look at you from the corner of their eye, ‘Oh, there it is.'” —Armin
  • “When we are leading in shame, all of the focus is on ourselves and our needs, and we become ego-centric leaders.” —Leary
  • “You can put parameters around asking…. You don’t have to just ask and stand there naked, waiting to be shot.” —Armin
  • “Be vulnerable…. It’s worth it. You become a stronger, better person than you ever thought you could be.” —Armin

This week’s Challenge Me:

As you listened to this episode, what struck a chord with you? Ask yourself, “What matches my experience and why is this resonating?” Lean into that. You might discover shame-based thinking is holding you or your venture back. Then, throughout the rest of today, make it a point to practice the Triple As—Assess, Accept, and Ask—and watch what happens.

Resources mentioned in or related to this podcast that may be helpful to you:

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