Are You a Paranoid Leader?

Are you a paranoid leader?

Living with paranoia is crippling. Just ask my client Bob. When Bob came to me he was so paralyzed by his paranoia, that making day to day decisions created so much anxiety and fear that the business was stalling out. Marketing initiatives were not being made, hiring new employees was lagging to the point that client orders were being delayed and even deciding when to schedule a management meeting took so much time, they never happened.  Employees were tip toeing around him, to try and push work forward, in fear that if Bob had to intervene, everything would come to a halt.

See, Bob’s paranoia triggered a myriad of affects that made making daily decisions about what color of paper to order or how to leave the outgoing voicemail message effect daily working conditions. His paranoia built fear and anxiety about making the wrong decision; to the degree he couldn’t make any decisions. His business began to deteriorate into a means to just trying to keep the doors open. No growth. No change. No evolution.

No one really knows why one person is more paranoid than another, but as always, it probably goes back to our childhood. When you take a supremely paranoid person and put them in a leadership position, it becomes a recipe for disaster. For Bob, he luckily found help. Yet, first I had to show him what the results looked like when he was paranoid. He had to see how it was creating more chaos than helping. See, he thought he was avoiding disasters by being so paranoid to make a decision, it was better to not make one, than make the wrong one.

Can you relate to any of these signs?

Poor Work Life Balance

Discovering that paranoia is leading your decisions, lack of decisions and fear of everyone will not only affect your business day, but your own personal life. It is hard enough to draw that line in the sand that separates your personal life from your business life, yet when you are being lead by paranoia there is no line. It is a constant anxiety that doesn’t care where you are or what you are doing. It will creep into dinner time, story hour with the kids or your dinner date with your spouse. It will consume you to the degree it is all you can think about, until it gets replaced with a new paranoia or you eventually make some decision that you are so unsure of, the paranoia starts all over again.

Running on Empty

Paranoia is not only distracting it is exhausting. It actually takes energy and calories to be paranoid and if one is not careful, it will suck all life out of you and not only affect that day, but future days as well. The physical signs of sweating, twitching, pacing and your heart racing takes fuel, fuel that you are probably not even giving yourself in the first place because of the distraction that paranoia becomes. Ever wonder why you are so fatigued, you didn’t even get out of your chair all day?

No Self Management

If your appointment calendar is sabotaged on a daily basis or hitting deadline dates is a pipe dream, you may be a victim of paranoia. See, paranoia doesn’t let you follow a calendar, because it has its own agenda. It creates your priorities and pushes everything else aside. If it doesn’t get the space it needs, it won’t survive. Generally speaking, victims of paranoia never know what they should be doing next, what meeting they should be in or who to follow up with. A schedule is nothing more than a week attempt at trying to be strategic. Paranoid leaders generally don’t ever start a day looking at their calendar or even checking in with it throughout the day. They wait for paranoia to tell them what to do or not do or avoid all together.

Luckily Bob saw the signs and he got help. It wasn’t something that was changed overnight, as the behaviors were so cemented in him, it had become second nature. Yet, through the help of a strategic business coach, a supportive management team and a desire to live a better life, he made the changes necessary to recover and self manage himself for the future. The future of his life. The future of his employee’s life. The future of a successful business.