We are living in a time where massive numbers of people are earning more degrees. You may be in a work environment where you notice this phenomenon. You’ll especially feel this reality if you’re in a position where those under you have higher educational degrees than you. This setup makes you wonder:
“Am I good enough to hold this position?”
“I have no business in this role.”
“What could I possibly offer to folks with higher degrees than me?”
As innocent and as natural as it is to feel inadequate when you compare your educational attainment to your subordinates’, know that the ego is at play in this regard. The ego wants to maintain its sense of self-importance by outdoing others or appearing better than those around you. The problem with allowing the ego to guide your thoughts is that it’ll always lead you to a place of insecurity and anxiety.
If you happen to be someone in a position as described earlier, consider the following pointers to go about your leadership role with greater confidence about what you can add to your work community.
First, recognize that your worth is not one dimensional. Someone’s educational attainment doesn’t make them smarter or more qualified than you. You too, have something value to offer. Your knowledge, abilities, personality, all of that matters and can serve a team quite well. You have a superpower, you just have to identify it.
Explore your unique qualities. You may not find value in it but it is valuable. If you have trouble identifying what your strengths are, ask trusted folks what they think. What do others appreciate about you? What do others trust you to do?
Second, use your clout to help others advance. You are in a position of power in the workplace. It doesn’t serve you well to feel threatened by someone else’s qualifications. Identify the privilege of working with people of such caliber. Show that you are a true leader by allowing your subordinates to spearhead certain initiatives that utilize their areas of knowledge. When you lift others up and share power, they will admire and respect you for those gestures. It could cause you to gain true and lasting gratification upon recognizing that you made meaningful efforts to share power, elevate others, and amplify their influence in the workplace.
Now that you’re aware of how to shift your mindset from a place of insecurity to confidence, I believe you are better equipped to drive positive change and leave a lasting effect in your organization.
If you are interested in talks and trainings on navigating self-doubt in the workplace, please contact us to explore the possibilities.