Leadership and Subordinateship: Navigating Perception and Growth

In the world of organizational dynamics, the perspectives of subordinates towards their managers mirror the way managers view their superiors. Geert Hofstede’s wisdom encapsulates this idea: to truly gauge how subordinates perceive you, don’t rely on wishful self-reflection. Instead, pivot 180 degrees and examine your relationship with your own boss. Our acumen in assessing the leadership behaviors of our superiors often surpasses our ability to introspect (self-examination).

Hofstede astutely underscores that leadership harmonizes with ‘subordinateship,’ and authority finds its foothold when met with compliance. This synergy underscores the significance of the relationship between leaders and their subordinates. Yet, how do we prevent this mutualism from degrading into a parasitic relationship? One approach involves vigilant observation—cultivating a multidimensional worldview.

It’s crucial to differentiate whether we perceive the world as it is or through the lens of desire, not just in our interactions but in our overall perception. Hofstede employs “observers,” but I propose we are akin to “judges” of others. Self-examination isn’t easily acquired; our upbringing ingrains the ability to discern right from wrong, beauty from ugliness, and virtue from vice. This habit, honed through years of repetition, inclines us to evaluate external stimuli, but how often do we reflect on ourselves?

However, change is always feasible, regardless of age. Why not adopt a new practice? Let’s cultivate the habit of becoming astute self-observers. Before sleep, dedicate 20-30 minutes to review your day as if watching a film. Envision yourself as an observer in a theater, scrutinizing your actions. Go further—see yourself from the viewpoint of those you interacted with. Although challenging, this exercise can yield fascinating insights. Admittedly fictional, it’s a mechanism to understand diverse perspectives, recognizing we lack the power to peer into minds.

This practice aids in discerning if we perceive the world as it is (perceived reality) or as we wish it to be (desired reality). If your gaze aligns with the latter, it’s commendable. Harness this alignment as a compass, a blueprint for actualizing positive transformation. Foster a superior home, an enhanced workspace, and a world inching towards improvement. Yet, refrain from becoming a passive judge, sulking because reality doesn’t align with ideals. Remember, you possess the capacity to induce change—a shifter of perspectives, a catalyst for transformation.

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