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

Andrew Weaver
February 3, 2024

Everyone is a bit broken” is a line taken from a 2018 Ted talk delivered by Professor Vikas Shah that looked at vulnerability and how everyone around you, is going through their own challenges and probably some of them are very similar to yours.

The challenge within teams and in management roles, is not many people are prepared to acknowledge this and therefore the behaviour of others can sometimes be misinterpreted.

This can lead to communications, relationships and team dynamics suffering from this lack of awareness and sometimes just an environment which fails that primary test of Psychological Safety, a fundamental lack of honesty.

And there are so many reasons why people don’t open up, alongside a lack of trust in their working environment. Ambition, peer pressure, pride, lack of self awareness and some of the BS that surrounds the startup world in particular can lead to a bottling up of pressures and a building up of assumptions.

Because the truth is if you could strip down most facades, even within very senior people within an organisation you’ll find the lurking shadow of that imposter syndrome and a vulnerability.

I was once blindly unaware that many colleagues even in senior roles suffered from some of these insecurities.

I often made the assumption that all around me were having some internal battles but were generally floating serenely towards a natural destiny of success and acclaim.

I was seemingly the only one being handicapped by myself.

The lightbulb moment came for me when chatting with a friend who is an eminent lawyer in the UK. He appears on the surface to be the epitome of serene success, but admitted that he regularly suffers from the fear of someone placing a hand on his shoulder and telling him … “you’re no good at this are you?”.

Widespread research and high profile admissions confirm this issue exists at all levels with 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 often feel they’re the only ones.  

But many have those same feelings of vulnerability which can impact us in micro ways such as that moment you walk into a networking group and immediately wanting to leave again – rest assured lots of those attending will have had the same thought.

Learning more about those around you and understanding the impact that vulnerability might be playing in their reaction(s), will make a huge difference to the impact you and your team can achieve.

Understanding that everyone is a little broken, is an important stepping stone towards managing with compassion.

Want to learn more?

We cover this topic and much, much more within our executive leadership program, The Digital MBA for Technology Leaders

In the meantime, here’s some further reading with …
5 Types of Imposter Syndrome : How to Beat Them

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90 Things You Need To Know To Become an Effective CTO

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