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The Badge

BadgeCongratulations on the promotion! Another rung up the ladder-more responsibility, more money, managing more people and a bigger badge. Yep, badge.

Look at it like a detective’s badge that they pull out when identifying themselves that immediately establishes that they have the power. Managers have badges too, although not a gold shield but the total sum of your words and actions. The bigger the badge, the more impactful those words and actions.

And people wield and handle the badge differently. The new, and sometimes not so new, manager may use it like a sabre. “Because I said so”, “I sign your checks”, “Do it or else”.

Some learned by example that once promoted to managing people, you can let it all hang out. Show ‘em who’s boss. Flash the badge. It’s what you do when you’re in power, right?

Wrong.

What is misunderstood is that the larger the badge (position), the more weight your words and actions carry. You have to be more careful as you move up the ladder as to not abuse the power given. Publicly call someone out or put them down and the result can be devastating. Discount their ideas as they are presented in meetings and be assured ideas will stop coming. Because the badge-holder’s words ring loud and clear; “I have all the answers and don’t need yours”.

And the most insidious thing about the badge is many times the badge-holder doesn’t see the problem at all. You’ll hear things like “I didn’t mean anything by that”, or “I was just kidding-everyone could see that”. No they don’t. Sarcasm isn’t a language those with a badge should use as people can take you literally. Because of what you do and the position you hold, everything is magnified.

Both bad and good.

A well-placed compliment from someone in authority can make a person’s day/week/month! From the badge-holder’s perspective it may appear to be ‘no big deal’ but to the recipient it is a very big deal. Use the badge for good!

When carrying a badge, be careful as you think out loud. The casual comment about considering another door in the conference room can bring out a team of workers tearing a hole in the wall that afternoon. ‘It would be nice’ is heard as ‘get it done-today’!

The really ironic thing about a badge is that the holder may be speaking in the exact same way, with the exact same tone as before they got the badge. It’s the gravity of their words and actions that have changed.

Build your team through personal power and leave the position power of the badge in your pocket. They know you’re the boss – you don’t have to shine a flashy badge to prove it.