When Leaders Fall Victim To Being A Victim

Nobody promised that leadership would be fair, but when leaders fall victim to being a victim, they actually perpetuate the unfairness that they believe they are the victim of. What’s particularly heinous, is that the victim leader sees their victim mindset as justified. It has energy and an identity so not only is their victim mindset appropriate, it is undeniably right. To ask a victim to change to a more positive mindset is to ask them to give up a basic human right to be right. And every day the victim mind builds a fortress around itself. Impenetrable by reason until the victim doesn’t even know they act like one. Not only can the happy outside world not get in, but the victim also can’t get out.

Negative victim leaders are like a bad smell. People instinctively want to get away and the organization pays a huge cost for this behavior. The first step to working with a negative victim leader is to get them to realize they are acting and believing as victims do, even if they don’t see it. We call that a “false victim”. Being the victim looks, smells, and feels real, but it’s not. Perhaps having a victim leader take the following “victim test” will help. Jeff Foxworthy, the famous comedian, is known for coining the phrase “you know you are a redneck if…..” We applied that same process to being a false victim. Have fun reviewing some of the following possible scenarios to see if you or somebody you know thinks or acts like a victim, understanding that we really mean false victim.

• If you repeatedly describe a bad experience to as many people as you can because you want them to know how tough and unfair your life is…….You might be a victim.
• If it makes you feel better to share a current problem that you are personally experiencing with somebody you just met……You might be a victim.
• If you avoid seeking feedback from others on how you can improve because you are afraid of what they will say…..You might be a victim.
• If the most common phrases in your vocabulary are “Why do I have to do it all?” “No one seems to help around here.” “How come all the idiots make it to my team?” You might be a victim.

For the complete “You might be a victim if….” Test, see our book Getting Into Leadership Shape®, available on Amazon. Move the victim from seeing their victimhood as a circumstance out of their control, to a mindset within their control, and they will have taken the first step to solve their own self-induced unfairness.