Posted by: hjwilliams94 | February 17, 2016

Get Out of Your Own Way

I found this article randomly one day when I was on LinkedIn researching. I literally stumbled across it and after reading it, thought it would be an interesting topic to discuss for a blog post.

For those of you who don’t know who Suze Orman is, you should definitely look her up. She is an author, television host, and considered a personal finance guru. This article by Orman is on her experience publishing two books on personal finance and her journey as a leader. She mentions two things that hindered her ability to “be the boss”. These two obstacles are ones I think relate to all leaders throughout their leadership journey. While Orman recognizes these things take time to acknowledge and address, I don’t think it hurt to start thinking about them now. The two things Orman said hindered her ability to “be the boss” include: 1. Standing firm in your wants and goals and not getting sidetracked by others. 2. Thinking you need a partner or partners to get you to that goal. Further, she mentioned two more qualities that held her back from reaching her full potential. First, is thinking everyone knows more than she did about a topic she was addressing. Second, is caring more about what other people think about you, than what you know is true about yourself.

This relates to what we have discussed in class about confidence and competency. The reading we had for last class talked about the double bind women experience when trying to attain leadership roles. On one side, a person has to prove they are competent and confident enough to be a leader. Yet, on the other hand, being too confident and competent as a woman puts a bad taste in people’s mouths. There is a very fine line women walk in when trying to prove their competency for a job. While the gender aspect was not mentioned at all, I think we have to consider that playing a role. The way she thinks about herself and her abilities are affected by the way society views women and their roles in society. Finance is not a domain women participate in traditionally. Only recently have we seen more women break into this industry. That in itself affects how Suze thinks about her abilities, the worthiness of her opinions, and if she needs support to succeed in this industry.

Overall, I think these are questions we need to ask ourselves and others in order to evaluate our (or others’) leadership. Having the ability to lead others is very much about emotional intelligence. While emotional intelligence a lot of times is mentioned in reference to having the ability to gauge other’s emotions and reactions, it also has to do with knowing your emotions and reactions. For my understanding of leadership, I find it crucial to have the ability to self-assess and really know who your are as an individual. At times, that means taking a step back and realizing what you might be doing to get in your own way of succeeding, whether that is in a leadership role or not. I am interested to hear your thoughts on this article and even personal experiences with hindering your abilities to lead/succeed.



  1. The only real way to learn leadership is to do leadership. It seems that women are typically less inclined to take that first leadership position than men. This apprehension keeps them from learning leadership. Where men are making mistakes, and learning by doing, women are staying in low level positions then longer than they need to, or should be.

    So Suze Orman’s advice, not be sidetracked, and have a supportive spouse, could actually have a more positive impact on women and leadership positions than a hundred women’s and leadership courses, because it will result in women taking that first step into leadership.

  2. I agree that many women get caught up in needing a partner to get ahead in life. In reality, the only person that is guaranteed to look after your own best interest is yourself. Additionally, people do rely too much on others’ opinions of them. This is human nature though, a want to be desired and accepted is something everyone strives for. There is a problem however, the problem occurs when someone is afraid to speak up in a group because they might have more knowledge or they may not want to display an opinion that goes against the tide.

    What I took from this article is to have a support system that is dependable, yet do not rely on that support system to coast through life on. Also, I agree that emotional intelligence is a key attribute when discussing the success of leadership. People have to understand their own emotions before they can begin to understand the emotions and possible actions of others.

  3. I find the two things Orman said hindered her ability to “be the boss” interesting. Standing firm in your wants and goals and not getting sidetracked by others relates to the discussions we’ve been having on ambition. Many women stand in their own way of achieving their goals and I agree is so important not to “mask” out ambition in order to reach the high potential we believe we have. Thinking you need a partner or partners to get you to that goal also relates to the more relational leadership style women gravitate toward. I find it interesting that Orman believes this “power with” inclination is a negative thing because in our readings last week it was viewed as a positive factor of women’s leadership style.

    Tying emotional intelligence into the discussion is also interesting because I feel this is a component many leaders and managers had not been aware of until recently. Now that it is accepted as a critical part of creating change, women have the upper hand. Women tend to be more comfortable and identify with a higher EQ while men are still trying to get over their traditional leadership style and catch up in order to succeed.

  4. “1. Standing firm in your wants and goals and not getting sidetracked by others. 2. Thinking you need a partner or partners to get you to that goal.”

    This statement really stood out to me. In leadership, I feel like it is so easy to worry and overthink your decisions and how you approach every situation. I am constantly trying to mind-read and tell the future in every situation, and it always limits my leadership potential. I know that I would be a stronger leader if I made my own decisions, from my values, and in the best way that I could see those involved in the situation thriving, but sometimes it is so hard to get out of your own head. I need to make decisions, even when they are hard, to better the situation as a whole, and not constantly worry about what others are thinking about me. Second, I always feel like I need to have a partner in my leadership. I have always felt like that lessens the blow of power. Two is better than one, and that’s just another person that people will place blame on when tensions run high. But honestly, leadership has to be a solo act sometimes. We have to learn how to be independent in order to thrive and in order to earn respect. You grow when you are put into difficult situations when you are alone. Though it may get hard, ultimately it is your values and leadership that will get you through any situation. I have to learn to not care about what others think as much, and to not be as dependent on others in my leadership.

  5. Suze Orman’s ideas for what has “hindered” her are interesting. Standing firm in your goals and not letting others change your mind is something I see as extremely important for the success of oneself. If you do not firmly believe in what you are doing, then where is the motivation in doing it at all? And thinking you do not need a partner to get to your goal sort of baffles me. From what I’ve learned in Leading Change this semester is that to enact any change there needs to be a guiding coalition, a group that will help you get to your goal, so that you can actually accomplish the goal. I understand that having a partner or group is not necessary in certain aspects of the push to be a leader but having a group to support you definitely helps.

  6. Having a high emotional intelligence is a good thing to have to figure out how the followers are doing. It helps to understand the culture and spirit of the team that a leader is in charge of. It is also good for a leader to know themselves as you said, but sometimes leaders need to be more aware of their followers and put them first. the first point of “Standing firm in your wants and goals and not getting sidetracked by others” feels in-genuine to me and sounds like a leader is putter him/herself before others. It is okay to have goals, but it is also important that goals line up with the companies ethics and values, and sometimes dreams need to be put on hold to help others or the company one works for. Not everything is a competition and that statement sounded like a competitive phrase to me.

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