It’s All in Your Head

Paranoia. Is there a more unbecoming leadership trait? Paranoid leaders spend their days assuming negative things are bound to happen or that others are plotting against them. The sad thing about paranoid leaders is most of them didn’t start out that way. Rather, paranoia often begins with one bad experience or one failed relationship. Instead of overcoming the challenge, we become engrossed in it and believe the same bad fortune or breakdown is bound to happen again and again.

5 Characteristics of Paranoid Leaders

  1. Their perspective on situations becomes insulated and lopsided; many times they only listen to one side of the story.
  2. They surround themselves with others who support their point-of-view, and unfortunately, typically feed their paranoia.
  3. They put self-protection first.
  4. They focus on the negative.
  5. Their relationships are strategic rather than authentic. “How I benefit” is the top priority.

Do you find paranoia creeping into your thoughts? It happens easily if we allow it. Paranoid leaders aren’t inherently bad people, but they do make bad decisions when those decisions are based on their paranoia. Here are four ways to steer clear of – or climb out of – a paranoid mindset.

4 Ways to Overcome Paranoia

  1. Trust first. The most effective mindset against paranoia is trust. But what if someone broke that trust? You’ll have to get over it. It’s bound to happen at some point because people will disappoint us. That’s not reason enough to simply stop trusting.
  2. Surround yourself with positive people. Gather your team together and commit to holding one another accountable to having a positive mindset. When you encounter negativity, find a way to flip it into a positive. Be an example of positivity for those negative people in your life.
  3. Put others’ well-being first. Look out for others’ interests, not just your own. Nothing inspires loyalty among teammates like a leader who protects and fights for their team.
  4. Remember it’s not all about you. Sometimes we need to get over ourselves. Odds are people don’t think about you as much as you think they do.

The next time you feel paranoia creeping it, don’t entertain it! Trust, be positive, and turn that energy you’d waste being fearful into encouraging and helping others.

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