They are just people

We often think of people in high power positions like VPs and CEO as being specially gifted and extraordinarily smart. While it’s true that it takes a certain amount of brains and personality to get to those positions, the reality is that they are just ordinary people like everyone else. They question themselves and have doubts about their decisions just as much as we do. And contrary to our beliefs, they do not have all the answers to our questions. Some great advice a friend once gave me is to treat high level executives just as if they were another person in my interactions with them. He was fairly young in his career when the internet became a big phenomenon and he was surprised to learn how little his leadership team at a telecommunications company knew what to do. He took this opportunity to present some bold ideas to his executives and could not believe how well they were received and the impact he was able to make so early in his career. Of course, this may not be the outcome every time but the point is that there is no reason to doubt your ideas or be apprehensive just because you are presenting them to someone higher up. In fact, the truth is just the opposite. Leaders are craving for people to help them come up with answers for complex problems they cannot solve on their own although many would not want to admit this.

This simple but powerful mind shift can help us overcome any fear of approaching people in higher level positions and come across as a much more confident person. You may even surprise yourself in your ability to convince leadership of your “crazy” ideas just because you believed in them enough and presented them with confidence. So be bold, be passionate, believe in your ideas and don’t waste time feeling nervous about that next big meeting with your VP. S/He is just another person who would benefit from hearing your ideas.

2 comments

  1. Very interesting. I think we should also not forget that the high powered people, especially the ones who recently got the power, do want to feel like they are in charge. Thus, sucking up to them in moderate and not so obvious way might be a good idea, especially such a high powered person is on (hopefully temporary) power trip.

  2. This is a very good point. You can’t make them feel less important and not in charge just because you think of them as ordinary people. You just don’t have to compromise your own ideas and confidence in their presence.

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