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BPD and Work

It’s been a rough couple of weeks professionally. I’ve had some

issues pop up with some direct reports. When this was brought to my attention, I was shocked. As a team lead, I pride myself on managing with a hands-off approach. I give my team members ample space to do their work in their own way, flexibility in where they do it from and I’m always accessible to talk through any issues that pop up in their day to day. We are a small, diverse team and that is also a result of intentional hiring on my part. I’m an excellent leader as I’ve been told by more than one colleague, which is why I was very confused when 1-2 of my team members went to my boss to essentially complain about my condescending and dismissive comments and tone over the past couple of. months.

Patience is a virtue, which is not mine. I’m not an easy boss and I expect 110% from my reports because I expect it from myself. I don’t mind repeating team process more than once but if it becomes a pattern, I do find myself getting annoyed and irritable. I don’t give out recognition like candy and no one on my team gets an award for participation. These are the things that will not change about me as a leader, however, with the help of my therapist (H), there are aspects that I can alter and it all boils down to being kind.

I’ve found myself micromanaging these two reports over the past couple of months. Things were not getting done and I stepped in far too often to help. What I didn’t understand that over time, this built-up resentment for me and as I was continually overextended in my own capacity. As a result, everything eventually boiled over, as it always does, and created a negative environment for very toxic behaviors on both my part as well as my team members to take hold. Of course, this was all occurring around the time of performance reviews, and my review, for the first time ever, wasn’t great or bad, just average as a result of creating an environment that was not “psychologically safe.” The irony of course in all of this is that as a result of my work on the DEIA committee with senior leadership, I along with two additional colleagues, created an assessment that measured psychological safety for our entire division. A classic case of understanding what the term is intellectually but failure in applying the concept to my own team.

I clearly still have so much to work on, but the work is getting done and I am the one doing it. It’s hard work and no aspect of my life, as I now know, is immune from my lack of interpersonal skills as a result of my BPD; but like any skill, it will get better the more I practice. I’m starting to see the results as I make different choices than I would have prior to therapy. One different choice at a time brings me one step closer to a life that I can be proud of living.


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