188. Unfounded Worries About Leadership

About this Podcast

Ep. 188 – The one person you spend more time with than anyone else is yourself. So, it’s no surprise that your internal dialogue with yourself is also more crucial than any other conversation you could have.

In my coaching sessions, I often discover that my clients’ internal conversations are the stumbling blocks for their career success. For example, without evidence, they’ve convinced themselves that giving direct feedback will lead to being disliked by their direct reports or that holding their team accountable might brand them as a micromanager.

But here’s the truth: these worries are often more unfounded than valid. The reality often differs from the fears our internal dialogues present.

In this episode, I will share the most common unfounded worries about leadership and provide insights to help you reframe those doubts, empowering you to move forward more confidently in your leadership role.

Listen on

share this story

View Transcript

Episode 188 Transcript:

Ramona Shaw [00:00:00]:

Oh, I have a good one

Ramona Shaw [00:00:01]:

for you. This is episode 188 on unfounded worries about leadership. Let’s check it out.

Ramona Shaw [00:00:08]:

Here’s the question. How do you successfully transition into your 1st official leadership role, build the confidence Incompetence to lead your team successfully and establish yourself as a respected and trusted leader across the organization. That’s the question, and this show provides the answers. Welcome to The Manager Track podcast. I’m your host, Ramona Shaw, and I’m on a mission to create Workplaces where work is not seen as a source of stress and dread, but as a source of contribution, connection, and fulfillment. And this transition Starts with developing a new generation of leaders who know how to lead so everyone wins and grows. In the show, you learn how to think, communicate, and Ask ask the confident and confident leader you know you can be.

Ramona Shaw [00:00:51]:

Welcome to this episode of the manage a truck podcast. So recently in an airplane, I was flying, and I pulled up my notebook and reflected on a recent coaching conversation that I had with an executive. And I thought about something specific that this person said about preconceived notions of leadership or on leadership. And it got me thinking about what are my clients generally worried about as it relates to leadership skills and leadership approach and so forth that actually seem unfounded. The amount of worry that people have about them is unwarranted. So those unfounded worries about leadership is what we’re gonna talk about In this episode, I’m gonna try to keep this fairly short and concise. But what I do hope is that with each of them, you pause for a moment. Don’t just listen and consume, but really think about how true this might be for you And or as you’re working with other leaders or as you’re building up leaders in your team, what might be some of these worries that they carry that it’d be useful to address with them.

Ramona Shaw [00:01:57]:

Okay. Let’s dive right in. There are 5 in total. I’m gonna go 1 by 1. The first one is that we worry about being seen as lazy and not doing enough. Very common one. If you appreciate leaders who pull up their sleeves and who are present and engaged and work and collaborate with the team, and you don’t like when a leader sort of is the first one to clock out and the last one to clock in and seems really detached and disengaged and absent, cancels meetings left and right. If that’s something that bothers you, You’ll likely not want to be appear to anyone ever as such kind of leader.

Ramona Shaw [00:02:43]:

And so the chances are that when you’re in meetings all day or when you assign tasks or tickets or work or projects To your team and your load looks really small compared to everyone else’s, that you start to worry that other people look at your workload or they look at your work schedule, And they think you’re lazy or you’re absent or you’re not willing to do the work that you’re delegating out to the rest of the team. The worry in itself seems valid. Right? Yes. When we’re not engaged and present and working alongside our team, we could be seen as lazy. The problem here, and you’ll see this, this actually applies to almost all of them, is that the people who worry about it are not the people who would ever be the absent manager. The manager who cancels meetings left and right or on short notice or doesn’t show up or is the 1st one to leave and last one to come, Those leaders are not worried about being seen or being perceived as lazy, disengaged, unwilling to do the work. They don’t care. So if you’re worried about it, chances are really high.

Ramona Shaw [00:03:57]:

You are are not being perceived that way. Now if you actually and again, here’s a little side mark. Unless you’ve received feedback, direct feedback from either your manager or from your team that they perceive you to be insufficiently engaged. If you feel like you are not doing as much as a team is, Take a step back and ask yourself, should you, as the leader or the manager, be doing the same amount of work? And the Likelihood, and I don’t know your situation, but with everyone I’ve ever worked with 1 on 1 on this, the answer is a clear and resounding no. You should not. And the fact that you think you should is on you, and no one else has put that expectation in you. Not your team is expecting it, and not your boss is expecting it. If your team starts to feel like or wonder what you’re doing all day, It’s likely not that you’re not willing to do the hard work.

Ramona Shaw [00:04:53]:

It’s that you’re not communicating with them how you spend your day and what your value add is. You may, in your team meetings, always talk about what everyone on the team is doing, And then it comes to you and you think like, no one cares. I don’t do important things, or I’m just in meetings all day. People wanna know What is top of mind for you? What you’re learning? What kind of meetings you’re in? What kind of conversations you’re having? All those things they wanna know. So the more that you can share with them without being overly diligent where it comes from the place of I will never want you to ever think that I’m lacey, I’m gonna give you a very detailed schedule of all the things I’m doing. Don’t do that. But if you just talk about in the same way that they talk about their responsibilities, You can also talk to a degree that you’re able to transparently share what’s top of mind for you or what you’ve been learning or doing all week and and share some of that high level stuff. So that’s the first one.

Ramona Shaw [00:05:50]:

Be worried that you’re seeing less lazy and not doing anything. 99% of the time, unless there is very specific feedback provided totally unfounded. Again, very similar to what we just talked about. People who worry about being too assertive or too pushy are not the ones who are too pushy. The people who are too pushy, they think that’s exactly what they should be doing, and they’re doing the exact right thing. Very, very few are worried about it. But if you’re worried about being too pushy and you’ve never received the feedback, you just sense that discomfort. You got a long way to go to actually be perceived as being too pushy.

Ramona Shaw [00:06:27]:

So know that your chances without me knowing you, chances are really high that you’re on that too nice side of the spectrum of assertiveness. The worry about being too pushy, very likely unfounded. The next one has to do with feedback. The so common but unfounded worry that you will be disliked when you give feedback or when you challenge your direct reports to step it up, take more accountability, do better work. The dislike may be happening in the moment. Someone may say, that feedback. Ugh, no. I don’t wanna do that.

Ramona Shaw [00:07:04]:

Or I no. I don’t wanna have that conversation, or this didn’t feel good. So temporarily, this is a maybe a difficult conversation, or you can see some disappointment or some frustration in their faces. But you giving good feedback if you give your feedback in an effective way, in a useful way, and in in a direct way, The disliking is very, very short term. They will not per se dislike you as a miniature or you as a person because you give them feedback. That is always and I’m being mindful with those absolute terms because who knows? But in broadly speaking, always unfounded. Not true. In fact, they may dislike you in a moment, but they like you a lot more the next day, and they respect you a tremendous amount More if you keep repeating this again and again, and they start to see how your feedback actually helps them.

Ramona Shaw [00:08:03]:

So both the liking and the respect increases as a result of giving feedback or challenging your direct reports. Next up, what is this? Number 4 is the worry about Micromanaging when it’s actually just a process of developing accountability. Micromanaging is different from telling someone by when will you do this and then checking in with them the day that they said that they were gonna do it or it was due or the next day, and then asking, what happened? It didn’t get it. You being or I didn’t didn’t get the report, didn’t get the document, And you start to notice that stuff falls through the cracks. You not tolerating that, but getting involved, addressing that issue so that you get to a place, Ultimately, where stuff doesn’t fall through the cracks and where you can trust that when you delegate something that it gets done, so you have to temporarily insert yourself and lean into it a lot more. There are different ways to do this, and there are ways to not do this. But building accountability It’s not the same as micromanaging. And too often, managers because no one wants to be called a micromanager.

Ramona Shaw [00:09:14]:

Well or Very few people believe in it, so most of us don’t want to be called a micromanager. And so because we fear it, We will just pretend it didn’t happen. We will tolerate things we shouldn’t tolerate. We will not take the lead in developing an High accountability team environment because we don’t wanna feel like we’re babysitting, double checking, telling people, controlling people, You know, telling people what to do or or inserting ourselves in a process or asking for status updates and all the things that we’re like, don’t wanna do this. So we lack then account sense of accountability on a team. Yeah. So if you’re worried about micromanaging, and as a result, you tolerate things that you internally know you shouldn’t tolerate, Drop the worry and build up that accountability on your team and with your direct reports. The concern about being perceived as a micromanager is Likely unfounded if you communicated well and if you do this intervention in a good way.

Ramona Shaw [00:10:16]:

Last but not least, The concern about team building, the worry about feeling inauthentic or being sort of Scripted and awkward to do virtual team building or even in person team building event Is I get it. Seems like a logical concern to have is vastly overstated. In most cases, this is Totally unfounded. Find something that you think your team will find silly or will find engaging. Start small. Don’t go into, like, a 1 hour team building session or an improv class if you’ve never done anything like that. Start with small 5 minute exercises, 10 minute exercises, and drop the concern that it will feel awkward to just lean into it. In the vast majority of cases here again, people appreciate it, find it fun, enjoy it, and it lifts the mood on the team.

Ramona Shaw [00:11:19]:

So if you hold back on those structured or scripted team building activities in your team meetings or off sites or in the office, Give it a shot. Start small, but see how your team responds. Okay. So here are the 5 worries. I’m gonna quickly recap them. They worry about being seen as lazy. They worry about being seen as too pushy. They worry about being disliked when you give feedback or when you challenge target reports.

Ramona Shaw [00:11:44]:

They worry about being a micromanager. They worry about descriptive team building activities not resonating with your team. Those are very common ones that often come up in conversations with the leaders I work with. Again, I hope that you take away 3 things here. One, you picked up those that resonated with you, and I hope it provides you some insight or some ideas on what to do about it. Two, most of the worries that we have are unfounded because the people who actually show up that way, the way that we don’t want to show up, Those are not the people that we’re are worried about. So if you worry about being perceived about a certain way, the chances are high that you have a long way to go to actually show up that way. I hope that makes sense.

Ramona Shaw [00:12:28]:

So that’s number 2. And then number 3, that sometimes it just takes courage. Leadership is not comfortable. It’s not supposed to be. Sometimes it just takes some courage in the ability to tolerate discomfort in order to create better results. These are the 3 insights I hope you’re taking away from this episode on The Manager Track podcast. I’ll see you next week, another episode of The Manager Track podcast.

Ramona Shaw [00:12:55]:

If you enjoyed this episode, then check out 2 other awesome resources to help you become a leader people love to work with. This includes my best selling book, The Confident and Competent New Manager, which you can find on Amazon or at ramonashaw.com/book and a free training on how to successfully lead as a new manager. You check it out at ramonasha.com/masterclass. These resources in a couple more you’ll find in the show notes down below.


1. What are some common unfounded worries about leadership that you have observed in your own experiences as a manager or leader?

2. What strategies have you used to communicate your workload and value add to your team in order to address worries about being perceived as lazy or disengaged?

3. In what ways do you differentiate between micromanaging and developing accountability in your team?

4. Are there any other unfounded worries that come to mind that were not addressed in this episode? What are the higher truths about those unfounded worries?

5. What steps can you take to begin to reframe your internal narrative when any unfounded worries begin to surface?


  • Learn how to turn your 1-on-1 meetings from time wasters, awkward moments, status updates, or non-existent into your most important and valuable meeting with your directs all week. Access the course and resources here: ramonashaw.com/11
  • Have a question or topic you’d like Ramona to address on a future episode? Fill out this form to submit it for her review: https://ramonashaw.com/ama



Grab your copy of Ramona’s best-selling book ‘The Confident & Competent New Manager: How to Rapidly Rise to Success in Your First Leadership Role’: amzn.to/3TuOdcP

If this episode inspired you in some way, take a screenshot of you listening on your device and post it to your Instagram Stories, and tag me @ramona.shaw.leadership or DM me on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/ramona-shaw

Are you in your first manager role and don’t want to mess it up? Watch our FREE Masterclass and discover the 4 shifts to become a leader people love to work for: ramonashaw.com/masterclass

Don’t forget to invest time each week to increase your self-awareness, celebrate your wins, and learn from your mistakes. Your career grows only to the extent that you grow. Grab your Career Journal with leadership exercises and weekly reflections here: ramonashaw.com/shop

Love the podcast and haven’t left a review yet? All you have to do is go to ramonashaw.com/itunes and give your honest review. Thanks for your support of this show!

* Disclaimer: Shownotes may contain affiliate links. That means that I am awarded a small commission for purchases made through them, at no added cost to you.


Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top