You are a leader who is skillful at creating and sustaining healthy workplace relationships. You don’t use fear or threats to get what you want. Despite your skill, you may unknowingly intimidate others in a more subtle way. In fact, you are probably more intimidating than you think you are; most leaders don’t see it in themselves.
It’s important for you to be aware that others may be fearful of you simply because of the position you hold. There are ways to overcome this to a degree, but you may not ever be able to overcome “positional intimidation” completely.
You may also exhibit some subtle behaviors that can cause others to be intimidated. These may be unintentional on your part, but they can work against you. When you moderate or eliminate those subtle behaviors, chances are that others will follow your lead willingly and joyously.
Some of the common subtle behaviors that can intimidate others:
Emotional distance: You may limit your interactions or you may be too serious or stern when the situation calls for more levity.
Impatience: You show your impatience when people don’t act quickly enough.
Anger: Subtle flashes of anger pass across your face or you change your tone of voice when you are upset.
Holding your knowledge over others: You love to tell others how much you know about a topic.
Cultivate the right mind sets to moderate subtle intimidation:
Just changing your behavior may not be enough to overcome your intimidating behaviors because if you don’t actually think differently, others will see right through your less-than-genuine behavior. Instead, begin working on cultivating your mind set in the following areas:
Honor yourself: Your intimidating behavior may come from feeling inadequate in some areas. What are your strengths? Honor them.
Become grateful: What is it that you are grateful for in others? What are the strengths they have that you appreciate and haven’t noticed in the past? Be aware and thankful for the gifts others bring to the workplace.
Increase humility: What do others do well that you’d like to learn? Realize that you have much to learn, and open yourself to learning from others.
Seek understanding: What judgments do you make of others that you are willing to let go of? Can you see beyond the façade they present in order to begin to comprehend what’s beneath the surface? Listen deeply to understand their viewpoints; you may find wisdom.
Make the effort to stretch out and practice these new ways of thinking. Changing a mind set is not easy, but once you begin to change your attitude, the appropriate behaviors may follow, making you more approachable and less intimidating.