Get Past Your Need for Constant Approval at Work…

It’s natural to seek the approval of your colleagues and employees. But being a great leader is about striking the right balance between trusting yourself and considering what others think. Try these strategies to ensure your decision-making, self-esteem, and overall sense of worth don’t become overly dependent on outside opinions.

Do a gut check. Take occasional pauses from the daily grind to ask yourself: Are my decisions truly reflective of what’s best for the team, or are they serving my desire to be liked? This introspection helps differentiate between internal drivers of behavior (like personal values, ethics, or genuine interest) and external drivers (like the desire for praise, fear of negative judgment, or the need to fit in).

Formulate your own opinions first. It’s easy to be swayed or influenced by colleagues if you’re not fully anchored in your viewpoint. Avoid reading others’ feedback or consulting them until you’ve arrived at your thoughts on the matter.

Try the “So what?” test. If you find yourself obsessing over what others will think, challenge your fears head-on with the “so what?” test: So what if this decision or opinion isn’t universally popular? So what if it doesn’t meet every expectation? So what if I have to change course later? Most of the time, you’ll find that the worst-case scenarios you’ve dreamed up are exaggerated or unfounded.

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