You Are Who Ever You Think You Are 6

“The value of self-esteem lies not merely in the fact that it allows us to feel better but that it allows us to live better – to respond to challenges and opportunities more resourceful and more appropriately.” – Dr. Nathaniel Branden

What is self-esteem? Simply put – self-esteem is your opinion of yourself. And personal opinions (regardless of who is giving them) are rarely based on fact. So unless you are dealing with facts your opinion of yourself is probably not true. (We are our own worse critics) You need to cut yourself some slack. Or as Annie would tell me – take a pill and chill.

Building up Your Self-Esteem / Your Self-Worth 

There are a number of great books on how to develop your self-esteem – not only in yourself – but in others. One of my favorites is “The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem” by Nathaniel Branden PhD. Branden is a Lecturer and practicing Psychotherapist who has done more than any other theorist to advocate the importance of self-esteem to human well-being.  We all feel insecure and unsure of ourselves at times. We all have self-doubt – especially if we are doing something we’re unsure of or we are doing it for the very first time. No one wants to look silly in front of their peers. No one wants to make a mistake.

Here’s a list of some of the things that you could do to build up your self-esteem. Read over this list and decide where you want to start. Remember – No one has the power to take away your self-esteem without your permission.

  • Stop comparing yourself to others: You are unique – you are you. There’s no one else exactly like you. Do what makes you feel good on the inside. If being thin will make you feel better about yourself then do it. But don’t do it because someone else decided that thin was the way to be. Who made them “Supreme Commander of the Free World”?
  • Stop putting yourself down with negative thoughts: I’m bald. I will always be bald. Nothing is going to change the fact that I’m bald because I refuse to wear a wig or get plugs or do the comb over thing. It is what it is – so suck it up and get over it and get on with your life. You either change it – or you change the way you are thinking about it.
  • Surround yourself with positive, supportive people: I can’t stand to be around negative people. It’s like they walk around all day long with this black cloud over their heads. They wear me out. I have far better things to do with my time than to listen to them complain. You’ll know if you are the negative one when you walk into a room and everyone else gets up and leaves.
  • Get involved in the work and activities that inspire you: I love what I do. I can’t see myself doing anything else. I can’t see myself retiring. They are going to have to drag me off the stage or bar me from the classroom. Do what turns your crank. Do what makes you truly happy. Choose a career that you’d do even if you didn’t get paid for doing it. (Don’t let anyone know about the money thing. You need money to pay the bills and keep a roof over your head)
  • Respect your own needs. It’s OK to say no. You don’t have to feel guilty. Women have a hard time with this one. You need to spend “Me” time. You need to take care of your own needs before you can take care of others. Take a bubble bath – light a candle – play your favorite music – do something just for you.
  • Stop trying to be perfect: No one is perfect. Let me repeat that. NO ONE is perfect. We all make mistakes now and again. You can’t beat yourself up over it. You learn from it – and you move on. Your future is not in the past so don’t live there. Most things are out of your control. Accept that you did your very best – and get on with it.

Low self-esteem – or low self-image translates into a lack of confidence – which causes us to think negative thoughts – which in turn causes us to hold back and give up easily rather than face tough challenges. You need to push forward even when you aren’t 100% sure of what the end result will be. Don’t wait for perfect. “Confidence is that feeling by which the mind embarks on a great and honourable course with a sure hope and trust in self.” – Cicero. 

Learn to Manage the 21st Century Way

“The delusion that you’re perfect – or that if you just do the right thing, things will always work out ok – makes you resistant to change and fearful of failure. You’d rather not discover that you’re imperfect, that maybe what you where doing was wrong. The more people go through those discoveries the better” – Esther Dyson

Sorry to be the one to burst your bubble but, nobody is perfect. Not even you. You don’t need to handicap yourself by carrying around that kind of burden. Strive for perfection? Yes – always but realize that you won’t be perfect every time – in everything you do.

The people you work with and interact with will make mistakes. It’s how you choose to react when they happen that will make all the difference in the world.

Successful Managers of the 21st Century will be:

  • Those managers who can look at the mistakes their people will make as opportunities to coach them and to teach them what they’ll need to know – So those kinds of mistakes won’t happen again. The students will never learn if the teacher doesn’t know how to teach.
  • Those managers who understand that successful outcomes are the result of parking their egos at the door and doing what ever they need to do to get the desired result.
  • Those managers who understand that they need to create an environment that is conducive to learning. They understand that adults can learn new things – given the right set of circumstances and in the right environment.
  • Those managers who understand that they can’t do it alone. That they need to build collaborative teams and surround themselves with people who are capable of doing some tasks better than they do. And then staying out of their way and letting them do it.
  • Those managers who understand that they don’t need to know everything. That it’s ok to ask others for help or advice. That the more they include their people in the decision-making process – the more likely their people will want to come along.
  • Those managers that understand that not everyone is motivated the same way – But everyone can be motivated. They understand that they need to know what their people’s aspirations are so that they can help them achieve them. They understand that if their people win – they will win – and most importantly their clients will win.
  • Those managers who understand that they need to loosen up once and awhile and not take things too seriously all of the time. That it’s ok to share a joke or tell an amusing story. That it’s ok to show their employees that they do have a fun side to them.
  • Those managers that understand that managing is a “Team” sport. (Together Everyone Achieves More) That they need their people a great deal more than their people need them . They realize that when things start to fall apart and go south – it’s the team’s manager that usually gets replaced first.
  • Those managers who understand that no body is perfect – especially themselves. And that if they aren’t perfect all of the time and in everything they do – then they shouldn’t expect it – or demand it – from someone else.
  • Yes successful Managers of the 21st Century strive for perfection in everything they do. But they don’t get “bent-out-of-shape” if they fall short now and again. Most importantly – successful 21st century managers are human.

The 3 Rs – Building Relationships That Last 1

Have you ever met someone for the very first time and thought, “Oh, yuck – what a dink”? (and I don’t mean Double Income No Kids). You didn’t know why – you just knew that there was something about them that you didn’t like. But, after you spent some time with them – and got to know them better – did you ever change your mind?

Building relationships and establishing trust with the people you work with and interact with is crucial to your overall success as a manager. Once you lose the trust and confidence of your people – you lose your ability to manage effectively. Trust and respect do not come automatically just because you’ve been given the title of manager. You must earn both, one person at a time. (And remember, once you gain your staff’s trust and respect, you can just as easily lose both.)

Establishing trust and respect between you and the people you work with is a 3-step process that I refer to as the 3-R’s – Rapport, Relationships and Respect. It’s a process that everyone must go through when meeting someone for the very first time. Some persons will naturally go through this process quicker then others.

The 3 Rs – Building Relationships That Last 

Step One – Rapport: The first step is to build rapport. Find out something about the person other than the job that they do. Do they have hobbies? Are they married? Do they have children? What do they like to do in their spare time? You need to be able to carry on a conversation with them on a subject that they enjoy talking about. Idle chit-chat is important if you want to develop rapport. (It sends a non-verbal message to the person that tells them you’re interested in them and what they have to say. Maslow’s Theory #2 – acknowledgement – acceptance – recognition).

Step Two – Relationships: The second step in building trust and respect with your staff is to build a relationship with your people. Keep in mind that you can’t build a relationship until you’ve established rapport. Once you’ve established a rapport with them you are well on your way to building those all-important relationships. Successful salespeople understand the value of building relationships with their clients. They understand that clients choose to do business with people they like. Successful salespeople understand that a solid relationship with their clients built up over a long period of time – may be the one factor that keeps them a client. The same holds true for your staff. If you have built your relationships with them on a solid foundation, then your staff will want to perform well for you. No one wants to let a friend down.

Step Three – Respect: The third step to building trust is respect. However, keep in mind that no one trusts anyone that they haven’t built a relationship with first. Would you rather be liked or respected? I’d rather be respected than liked. Yes we all like to be liked – and I’m no exception – but I don’t want my friendship getting in the way of me having to make some tough decisions. And managers need to make some tough decisions that not everyone is going to agree with. They may not like the decision you make – but they will respect the fact that you had to make a decision that was in the best interest of everyone.

Respect is reciprocal – you’ve got to give it to get it back. The more you give – the more you get. Treat people the way you’d like to be treated. Be open-minded – Be flexible – Solicit input from everyone – Don’t be condescending or talk down to others – And listen to the other person’s point of view without interrupting them. (Even if you don’t agree with what they are saying)

Without mutual trust and respect your people will abandon you and you will eventually fail. (Always keep in mind that you need them a great deal more than they need you). You might be able to bully your staff into doing things they don’t really want to do for the short-term – but eventually it will come around to bite you in the end. (pun intended).

Managers lose respect because they are perceived by their people as not being fair, honest, and consistent with the way that they treat everyone. It’s been my experience for the most part that workers don’t have an issue with policies and procedures. Everyone understands the need for rules and the reasons for following them. Workers however, have issues if those policies and procedures are not applied fairly, evenly and consistently across the board.

“In organizations where people trust and believe in each other, they don’t get into regulating and coercing behaviours. They don’t need a policy for every mistake … people in these trusting environments respond with enormous commitment and creativity” – Walter Wriston.

The Top Ten Sins Most Managers Make & How to Avoid Them 1

“We are being judged  by a new yardstick: Not just how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other”. – Daniel Goleman – Working with Emotional Intelligence. 

We aren’t born knowing how to manage people effectively. (It’s a learned behaviour) We all start out making certain assumptions based on our own perceptions of what a manager should be. But our perceptions can be wrong. I hope you are able to learn from my sins. And trust me – in my 40 plus year career as an award-winning entrepreneur and general manager for one of  Canada’s best run and most profitable companies I’ve made my fair share. I’ve committed each one of these sins at one time or another. I’ve been there – done that – and have the t-shirt to prove it. I hope you gain some valuable insight into what it takes to be an effective 21st Century Manager.

  1. There is No Such Thing as Common Sense: Don’t rely on common sense as part of your training program. If you haven’t taught someone how to complete a task the way you want it done, then don’t assume they know how. Remember – Common sense is not common practice.
  2. You Can’t Motivate People: You can’t motivate people to do anything they don’t want to do. However, what you can do is create an environment in which they will want to motivate themselves. If you know what they want – and you have the power to grant it – you can use that understanding to get them to do what you want.
  3. You Ruin Good People by Promoting Them: Just because people are good at what they do – it doesn’t mean they will be good at doing something else. Not everyone has what it takes to manage others. Managers must be teachers first – technically competent second.
  4. You Don’t Have to Know Everything: It’s OK for managers to let their people know that they don’t have all the answers. What’s important is that they know where to go to find them. Always be honest and up-front with your people.
  5. You’re Not The Most Important Person in The Conversation: Communication is everything. If the other person doesn’t get the message the way you intended – then whatever you said – means absolutely nothing. Effective communication takes two.
  6. Park Your Ego at The Door; It’s Not About Being Right: You and I both know that there are a number of ways to accomplish the same task. The more that you allow your people to get involved in the process, the more likely it is that they’ll be interested in the results. It shouldn’t be just your way – solicit their input. Build collaborative teams.
  7. You Can’t Control Everything All of The Time: Your job as a manager is to teach someone else what you know. You can’t do that if you’re not sharing your responsibilities with the people around you. If you don’t delegate, you are robbing your people of their opportunity to grow. Resist the urge to micro-manage.
  8. You Can’t Demand Respect; Respect is Reciprocal: You’ve got to give it to get it. Gaining respect is a process. You must first build rapport, then develop a relationship – before you get mutual respect. People won’t trust anyone they don’t respect first.
  9. People Hear What They See, Not What You Say: You must lead by example. It’s not what you say that’s important. It’s how you go about doing it that matters most. If you look like a pro, and act like a pro, then people will perceive you to be a pro.
  10. There Aren’t Any Negatives; Everything is Positive: Your attitude is the only thing that you can control 100% of the time. Only you get to decide how you want to react to any given situation. React in a way that is going to get you what you want. People choose to follow winners not whiners. Always choose to be a winner.

To order your advanced copy of Brian’s book  – “Confessions of a Reformed Control Freak – The Top Ten Sins Most Managers Make & How to Avoid Them” contact the Author – Brian Smith at or call 613-868-5698.