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LEAD Are You Taking Things Too Personally? Stop Internalizing and Start Leading With These 3 Strategies

Jade Yourth
Industry Insights

Brush it off and get over it. It's really not that big of a deal.


Culture has become the official buzz word in the business world. A strong culture is where talent flocks, employees stay, and innovation excels. And while there's no magic formula or quick way to do it, we do know that it starts and ends with great leadership

Leadership is all about making things personal. But there's a big difference between making things personal and taking things personally. In fact, the latter can become a leader's downfall. Internalizing every criticism, setback, and situation that doesn't work in your favor will lead to a skewed perspective, inhibiting your ability to lead effectively. 


However, we all know that separating your feelings is incredibly difficult, if not impossible. We're not made of stone. We're also not robots. How are you supposed to be lead a company with a human-centric approach, yet let things roll off your shoulder? It can all be very confusing.  

It starts with knowing what to let go of and what to hold on to. There are definitely times when you should take things personally. There are also times when you need to let your ego take a back seat and keep moving forward.  

Here are three examples of when you need to brush it off and simply get over it. 

1. Someone Quits

Any time you receive a resignation, it stings. It's normal to feel that way. Some leaders take it incredibly personally, which can manifest into anger, resentment or even guilt. 

Unless the person states that you are the reason for their departure, then you need to look at the whole picture. It's not the fifties anymore; people do not spend their entire careers at one company. There are times when no matter what you did and how much you paid, that person just needs a change. 

Once you've determined in the exit interview that you're not the reason, make peace with it. Reflect on how they've helped your company and be grateful for the contributions they made.

You also need to consider that you're being given a new start to find a replacement that has even more skill and expertise. When one door closes, another door opens. Now move on.

2. You're not invited.


There are a few things you don't expect once you become the boss. The most notable is how your staff relationships change. Now that you're in charge, you're not the same kind of colleague you were before.

So when you walk into an empty office because everyone's left for happy hour, you may start feeling down because you weren't invited. Does this mean they don't like you? Is it a sign you're a bad leader? 

It probably has nothing to do with you. You're just the boss. The dynamics have changed, and yes it can be lonely at the top, but it's also part of the job. Big picture: your staff are bonding outside of work. That's a great thing. So brush it off and get over it. It's really not that big of a deal.

3. No one seems to care. 

An exciting new client has just been signed. You've gathered the team together to share the good news, expecting a dozen hands to shoot up eagerly when you ask who wants to take on the project. Instead? Crickets.

Your first response may be shock, then frustration, and even insecurity. Why don't they care as much as you do? Is the reason they're not excited because they don't like you, or care what you think?


Take a breath. Consider what's really going on. Perhaps the bigger reason is that they have too much work to do already. Or perhaps there needs to be more clarification on the scope of the project, or more than one person in charge. It could come down to a lack of confidence taking on such a big client.

There are so many reasons as to why no one's coming forward, so schedule one-on-one's to dive deeper and find out.