Overcoming the Fears that Inhibit Alliances
Everyone hopes to be approved of by his peers and his boss. It's a common human need. Unfortunately, employees who lack authority when trying to create change sometimes allow this need to metamorphose into fear. The fear is that they will end up being neither liked nor admired.
Unfortunately, all fear is not unfounded. In the high-stakes arena of the corporate world, your efforts to gain allies and create change may be resisted. The key is to recognize the chief fears and know that others have risen above them.
The fears that inhibit alliances include the fear of being perceived as disloyal, uncontrollable, or opportunistic.
The fear of being perceived as disloyal
The first fear is the fear of being seen as disloyal. Some companies expect – or you may think they expect – their workers to do exactly as they are told, "no questions asked." For the employee who seeks allies and change, yet lacks direct authority, this can be an uncomfortable situation.
To overcome this fear, you will want to understand your company culture, then focus on and promote the benefits of creating alliances and positive changes. Aligning your strategies with company goals and objectives to begin with will help to counteract any fears of being disloyal.
The fear of being perceived as uncontrollable
The second fear among ally seekers and change makers is that they will be viewed as uncontrollable. As you look for allies and promote beneficial changes, others may feel you are acting on your own behalf and not under the auspices of a superior.
The best way to counteract your fears of being perceived as uncontrollable is to establish certain controls before you begin.
For starters, consider the scope of your job description which almost certainly supports you in your pursuit of ideas and alliances which benefit the company. Next, guard against letting your alliance-building and change facilitating activities prevent you from completing your regular work. Another control you can use to guide your efforts is to consider the goals you set with your manager during your annual review as well as any departmental goals. Very often, personal and departmental goals require you to build alliances and pursue changes.
The fear of being perceived as opportunistic
The third fear in trying to win allies is that you will be seen as opportunistic. An opportunist takes advantage of any opportunity to achieve an end, without regard for principles or consequences.
You can battle this fear by carefully planning your alliance-building efforts and proposals for change. If you act in a principled manner and consider the consequences of your actions, you have nothing to fear when it comes to allegations of being opportunistic.
The way you are perceived by co-workers may be a concern when it comes to building alliances and proposing changes, but you must overcome these fears to lead progress. You may fear being perceived as disloyal, uncontrollable, or opportunistic but these fears should not become permanent obstacles. Just remember, all great leaders have had to win allies and facilitate change, and they have all faced fear and resistance. Your success as a leader depends on your ability to recognize and overcome these fears.
As you seek to build alliances and facilitate change, focus on and promote the benefits of your goals, and align your strategies with your personal goals and those of the company and your department. Then strive to act in a principled manner, considering the consequences of your actions. In this way, you can conquer the three main fears that prey on ally seekers and change makers.
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