One of the leaders I work with (we’ll call him Phil) said he tends to keep his guard up with his manager, filtering what he’s saying. Phil shared that he had a manager years ago who was a real jerk, and was exceptionally difficult to work with. So Phil learned to filter and keep his guard up—wearing armor. This was stifling for him, and certainly didn’t create good working relationships or the best work products.
Authentic, Fresh Starts
In a recent session, Phil mentioned that he had a really good conversation with his current manager (we’ll call her Mary, who is *not* a jerk), and that he finally let his guard down. I asked Phil how it felt, and he said it was “freeing.” He decided to have an unfiltered and open conversation with Mary and he enjoyed the exchange.
Almost all of us have scars from past relationships, or bad managers, or cruddy jobs. And many of us have moved on to new relationships, different managers, and better jobs—though sometimes we still think about old wounds and want to protect ourselves in different ways. It’s understandable, and it’s also us keeping ourselves boxed up, using armor to protect us from a threat that doesn’t exist anymore.
Check in on what scars you have, and your choice to wear armor, even when no one is attacking you.