Why are we so resentful towards successful people? Residing within our culture is a sense of entitlement. We see successful people and think we deserve the same thing. As you move through life and further up the ladder of success, you will inevitably encounter people who aren’t happy for you. Worse, you may even encounter people who work against your success. What do you do when faced with this type of skullduggery?
Stay above reproach. When faced with critics, keep producing quality work! Your results will speak louder than any single individual. Staying focused on the goals will keep you above the situation. If you spend significant time trying to combat what’s being said about you, you actually give the accusations more merit. People begin to wonder if you are trying to hide something if you spend a noticeable amount of time countering the statements. If a boss or client asks about it directly, be forthright and answer, but otherwise, let it be.
Don’t engage in the same behavior. It’s so easy to want to put accusers’ flaws on display when your character is being called into question. I was faced with a situation where the information I had on someone was far more condemning about their character than what they said about me, but I didn’t go there. This can backfire in many ways. First, it makes you look petty. Second, if you don’t get the results you were hoping for, you are still forced to be around these people, and now they will be significantly more challenging to deal with. Finally, it takes your focus away from the things that are important.
Understand you can’t win them all. Many of us have an innate desire to have everyone like us. Everyone is not going to like you! As a leader your job is to be respected, not liked, and there are a few people who won’t even do that. You will never get 100% approval, so don’t waste time trying to achieve it. Having enough support to achieve the goals is what is important.
Have a good filter. I’m a sharer, but it’s important to understand what should be shared with whom. Wearing our emotions and opinions on our sleeves is not the best way to reach success.The best communicators know how much to say and when to say it. Read this for more thoughts about taking the high road in our communications, or this to understand the art of communicating.
Confront the behavior. Depending on the situation, it may reach the point where it’s best to confront the behavior. If the situation is hurting your ability to achieve the work that’s required of you, talk with them. Let them know you feel you have to filter what you say around them and would prefer to have a better relationship. When having discussions like these, always focus on the problem, not the person: this allows them to be less defensive.
The more you put yourself out there and achieve great things, the more you will come under scrutiny. That’s okay! It means you are getting noticed. Take these opportunities to continue to shine in how you address the situation. Rise above it!
Jana Axline is president and leadership coach at Axline Solutions. Through her leadership musings she hopes to inspire audiences to grow as leaders and ultimately achieve who they were created to be. For more information visit Axline Solutions.