Why the best bosses make us feel uncomfortable

They don't all have to be like Al Pacino in "Devil's Advocate" but a good boss can be one that makes us feel unsure of ourselves.

Story highlights

  • Difficult moments in the workplace can be beneficial for bosses and employees
  • Reynolds suggests its hard for people to see their own blindspots
  • Uncomfortable moments may be turned into opportunities for professional growth
The best leaders make us feel unsure of ourselves.
This may sound counterintuitive. Aren't leaders are supposed to build confidence? At times, encouraging people is effective.
Other times, when people are stuck seeing things one way or they are resistant to change, creating a little discomfort in the conversation could help them grow.
People need you to help them think through difficult issues even though they don't feel comfortable in the process.
It is very difficult for any of us to question our beliefs and behaviors.
Author Marcia Reynolds
Our brain's protective instinct keeps us from in-depth self-exploration. We can only see "outside the box" when we read or hear something that surprises our brains.
The best way to help people see outside the box to objectively consider their circumstances is to listen to how they describe their situation, reflect on what they are saying, and then ask questions that cause them to review their thoughts and behavior.
If your words break through their protective barriers, the moment will feel awkward. They might feel a pinch of anger, embarrassment, or sadness when their blind spot is revealed. Then they grow.
Generating insights create breakthroughs in thinking.