Dealing with Senior People

Dealing with Senior People

One of the issues that regularly crops up in coaching sessions is insecurity when dealing with senior people. This topic has come up twice in the past month alone: in all cases, with very competent, talented professionals who know their fields spectacularly well and have nothing to hide.

In the Self-Worth Safari, we talk about the “Imposter Syndrome”. This is the fear of being “found out” (often by someone in authority) in a very public and humiliating way. Some people have memories of this happening as children, whether in class or at home or in after-school activities. Others have just witnessed these scenes, or seen it happen on TV, yet the horror to self-esteem is so deep that it leaves lifetime vulnerability, often sub-consciously.

Reassuring someone about their talents or abilities misses the mark entirely. This is simply not the problem here. People who suffer from Imposter Syndrome (or have difficulty dealing with senior people) are often quite confident about their abilities. Indeed, they often suffer the indignity of seeing others with less ability somehow carry off a show of confidence that somehow eludes them.

The work that needs doing is at a deeper level: often at the level of self-worth. The vulnerability is linked to the self, not the subject matter, nor even the situation. Invariably, such people place a high value on self-esteem…. and that’s exactly the problem. Like the surface of the sea, self-esteem is notoriously contingent and fluctuating. Self-worth is deeper and therefore is not subject to the squalls and waves that at times make the surface-water somewhat choppy.

If you’re interested in learning more about self-worth, I am hosting a retreat in Portugal June 22-24. Learn more here:

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