Being around people that you admire from afar, have authority or are well known can spark a number of reactions in a person. Some get overly excited, some dread the interaction, some fear it, and others embrace it. Which are you?
We’ll talk about higher management today, but the thought really applies to a number of interactions in our lives. Meeting your idol, “celebrities”, certain political figures and more grounded examples like your pastor or significant other’s parents are some examples of this outside of work.
Take them off their pedestal
Part of the difficulty in being around higher management is that we like to put people on pedestals. Make yourself more comfortable by remembering that they are just normal people like you. I have had some odd to entertaining interactions with people because of what I’ve done with Passing the Baton, the Disney Runner, and with my work responsibilities. We’ll cover some of the funnier ones on the podcast this week. I can guarantee you that the person you are going to interact with struggles with many of the same things that you do.
Understand their perspective and time
Now that you’ve gotten over the fact that they are not a superhero or a robot, you need to understand their perspective so that you can communicate in the right way. Most high-level leaders are very visionary and see things at a higher level. They also have many time constraints and are usually on tight schedules.
Be prepared so that you don’t waste time. Think about your presentation, questions, and thoughts from a higher level so that you can connect well with them. A CEO is likely not interested in why a marketing communication got to you a day late. Stay out of the weeds, be yourself, and don’t lie/over-exaggerate your points. They can see right through those efforts.
When the interaction doesn’t live up to your thoughts, don’t take it personally
Many leaders that lead at a very high level can be a bit…impatient. If you nail your presentation, proposal, or conversation and don’t get a bunch of affirmation or accolades, don’t take it personally. They are very busy and are likely trying to move on to their next appointment.
The victory comes from being able to go forward with your ideas and projects. The personal victory comes when you get asked back or they want to continue the conversation later.
A note for those that are higher-level leaders and personalities
Perhaps you are the person that is in higher management or a personality that many people gravitate to. Know that some people are going to be odd around you because they are uncomfortable. Don’t take it personally, instead help the situation by being very approachable and down to earth. The awkwardness will quickly fade away and you can have a productive conversation.
Times around higher management and personality don’t have to be stressful. You can do it!
Make a better tomorrow.