Everyone is a bit broken … so learn how to manage with compassion

Andrew Weaver
April 19, 2022

“Everyone is a bit broken”

Credit for this quote goes to Professor Vikas Seth, delivered via a fantastic Ted talk that looks at vulnerability and how everyone around you, is going through the same or similar problems.

The challenge within teams and in management roles, is that not many people are prepared to acknowledge this truth and behaviour is sometimes misinterpreted, with communications, relationships and team dynamics often suffering from a fundamental lack of honesty.

The start up world can suffer from this more than most, be it pride, a “fake it till you make it” culture or simple lack of self awareness.Strip down these facades and you’ll find that most senior people in most companies suffer from vulnerability and their own version of the imposter syndrome.

I was once blindly unaware that many of my fellow travelers suffered from some of these insecurities, often making the assumption that all around me were floating serenely towards their natural destiny of success and acclaim.

My lightbulb moment came when chatting late night with an eminent QC, some small lagers having stripped away the pretence as he admitted that despite significant recognition and success within his world of work and play, he still suffered every day from the fear of a hand on his shoulder and someone exposing him for the fraud he clearly must be.

Widespread research and high profile admissions cement the fact that it exists at all levels.  Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, once admitting that “Very few people, whether you’ve been in that job before or not, get into the seat and believe today that they are now qualified to be the CEO. They’re not going to tell you that, but it’s true.”

Those who experience impostor syndrome will often feel like they’re the only ones.  But the reality is that many of us are or have been struck with the same feelings of vulnerability.  It might impact in micro ways, such as walking into a networking environment and assuming you’re the only one who struggles with small talk (the rest of us do, don’t worry) or on a macro level of under selling yourself.

Why is any of this relevant to us here at The CTO Academy?  Understanding and working with others is an important element of making progress within a company, and for bringing others with you.   Successful CTOs (and CEOs for that matter) understand that there is always more than meets the eye with people you meet on this journey and that understanding and working with issues like vulnerability, both for yourself and others, will make a huge difference to the environment you’re hoping to shape around you.

Understanding people is one of the major challenges for being a success in business.  Understanding that everyone is a little broken, is an important stepping stone towards managing with compassion.  It should be pre-requisite of any CTO training roadmap.

We know, we’ve been there and that’s why we are soon to release a course at CTO Academy that provides a sense check of what, how, when to deal with issues around business psychology and in particular, the imposter syndrome.  Get in touch with our team for more information : Hello@cto.academy

Further Reading

“Feeling like an imposter? You can escape this syndrome” : https://bit.ly/2xQuZYV

“5 Types of Imposter Syndrome : How to Beat Them” : https://bit.ly/2qXiqHR

Changing The Perception of Mental Health

Doing some great work here in the UK : https://sanctus.io

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