This is the next installment in our Superpowers series. Read on only if you want to master your superpowers (and those of your team) for the good of humanity!
Kryptonite is a fragment of the planet Krypton which emits energy that saps Superman of his superpowers. It reduces him to a normal, everyday person. It takes away his uniqueness and specialness. It can bring Superman to his knees.
At the same time, kryptonite has no effect on anyone else – unless they are also from the planet Krypton.
You probably have your own personal kryptonite - at work
I discovered how kryptonite can affect leaders when my firm was working with the owner of a highly successful remodeling company. Our project involved streamlining and organizing processes. While confirming the project schedule, I couldn’t help but notice the paperwork stacked wall to wall behind the owner’s desk.
“I’m curious. What’s with that?” I asked, pointing to the stack.
The owner glanced over, and shuddered. “That,” he said, turning back toward me, “is something I do because no one else should have to suffer.”
Hmmm. On my next visit, I was waiting in the office manager’s area and noticed she looked a bit weary.
“Are you ok?”
“Oh, I’m fine. I just wish I was able to make a bigger difference here. I really love to organize and file and do paperwork, but the boss doesn’t seem to trust me enough to do it,” she said, gesturing toward the pile in the office.
Within a few days, we had a three-way meeting to talk about a better process for all that paperwork. The leader was incredulous to hear that anyone could actually enjoy paperwork as it drained him even to think about it. Within days the boss’ office was clear, and the office manager was happily in her element creating files and filling out forms. Privately, the leader shared how much better he felt.
“It’s like someone lifted an elephant off my shoulders. I’ve doubled the number of sales calls I’ve done this week already! I had no idea how much that paperwork was pulling me down.”
A few questions to ask yourself
- What makes you feel weak and ineffective? What brings you down to "merely mortal"?
- Who do you know - especially on your team - who seems not to struggle with your kryptonite? (Yes, it is true - there really are people who are actually energized by your kryptonite!)
- What's holding you back from getting some help with your kryptonite?
Stay tuned for our next segment Superhero or supervillain? You are who you choose to be.