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Alpha males: Time to evolve!

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

You know if you’re an alpha male: You stress out when you’re not in charge.

As “in charge” as you may be, chances are, you’ve got no clue what your colleagues think of your behavior. These words come to mind:  “intimidating,” “critical,” “stubborn,” “unappreciative.” Maybe your intense analytical nature makes you seem remote, even to your best people.

Here are five steps toward alpha growth:

1. Admit vulnerability. Acknowledging that you’re afraid or asking how you could do better, affects your team profoundly positively. They’ll usually open up, too.

2. Accept accountability for other people’s work. Use the Rule of Three:  If a problem occurs once (say, somebody misses a big deadline), one person might be solely responsible. If it happens three times (either the same person or three different people), then you have to shoulder some responsibility and solve the problem.

3. Connect with your emotions. You’ll admit that they help rev up people during a sales rally, but they don’t motivate you. Well, face it: You’re teeming with unacknowledged emotions. It’s just that you might be confusing anger with fear, anxiety or intuition.

4. Offer the good with the bad. You probably feel uncomfortable with praise, either giving or receiving it, so 80 percent of your remarks are critical. You might be a genius at spotting flaws, but if that’s all you ever do, you won’t be much fun to work with.

5. Recognize pattern behavior. If you tend to flush red and slam a book when confronted, try to remember the first time you did that. Maybe it happened in high school when a teacher embarrassed you, and you’ve been doing it ever since.

— Adapted from “Coaching the Alpha Male,” Kate Ludeman and Eddie Erlandson, Harvard Business Review

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