The Supervisor Lid Principle (SLP)

Have you ever heard the phrase “My Supervisor Is Holding Me Down!” or some variation of it? Most of us have either heard that phrase or uttered it ourselves. The reality is this phrase can definitely be a harsh reality and many times it’s unintentional.

I am a firm believer that an individual’s success within an organization is directly correlated to what their immediate supervisor thinks of them.  In other words, the supervisor can put a lid on, or take the lid off of an individuals success. Ultimately leaving an employee’s success in the hands of the perception/reality of their supervisor.

I call this the Supervisor Lid Principle (SLP) and I have seen it in full effect throughout my various careers and even within sports teams. This principle results in individuals failing, not performing and even faced with termination. These negative effects permeate until they’re placed under the tutelage of another supervisor, whom has a different set of lids or removes the lids altogether.

The most effective way to combat against (SLP) is to merely recognize that it exists. Once you recognize that it exists you can begin to identify methods, strategies and techniques to remove the lids that your supervisor may have either inaccurately or unintentionally placed on you. Overall, the removal of those Supervisor Imposed Lids will inevitably allow you to be more effective and free.

Supervisors need to be aware of the unintentional or inaccurate lids they place on their employees.  Both supervisors and employees need to recognize that (SLP) is real.  Dear Mr. or Mrs Supervisor, if you want an employee to fly, free up their wings or rather remove their lids. If you want your employees to struggle, fail, be tentative, second-guess themselves and not soar… keep putting your unnecessary, narcissistic and limiting lids on your people.

The organizations and supervisors that tend to “Hold Their People Down” must begin asking these questions:  Do I live with an abundance or scarcity mentality? Do I operate by freedom or control?  Am I secure or insecure? The answers to these questions and making the necessary adjustments is key to raising up a pot full of boiling leaders, that nobody can hold down. Let em’ Boil and Let em’ Fly!

“In any organization, you will only be as successful as your supervisor thinks you are or allows you to be.

What Do You Think?

  • @thebryanrose

    Great post Scott, and so true in my experience on staff in the church and now working alongside local church staff teams. The difference in living with an abundance mentality and a scarcity mentality is huge, and often this what sets high performance teams apart. Those leaders choose not to control in fear of what could be done wrong, but over-communicate clarity and then release individuals to perform in what should be done right.

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