A self-fulfilling prophecy is a psychological phenomenon where an individual expects that a future event will happen, and ultimately that event manifests because the individual’s resulting behavior aligns to fulfill their belief.

This post explores another key self-fulfilling prophecy about the role of being the one in charge. This is important to you because as a leader, “you become what you believe.”

Believe that you can influence an outcome and you will become influential.

Shania’s Dilemma

When Shania engaged me to be her leadership coach, she faced a situation where she felt she could not have a beneficial impact in the organization. Even though she knew that she had the capabilities and desire to advance further in the leadership structure, she felt subtle discrimination working against her as a woman and as a minority. Shania was extremely frustrated but quite unsure about how to deal with this problem, which impacted others too.

At our first coaching session, I asked Shania to describe situations that led her to believe she was being denied opportunities. Her first example was in the selection of candidates fer her employer’s leadership development program. No women were selected! Her second example showed a more subtle discrimination. Nearly 50% of the employee population have minority status, yet the company cafeterias refused to offer any ethnic food selections despite being asked to repeatedly by employees.

Shania did not want to leave the company because it offers great benefits and pay but she was frustrated by this unaddressed discrimination. I asked, “What do you feel needs to be done about this?”  Her reply was, “Someone needs to lead the effort to call this attention to management team, which also had a good mix of minorities.” My follow up question was, “Why can’t it be you who starts this effort? It would be an excellent opportunity to prove that you are leadership material.”

I could tell Shania had never thought to do this as an opportunity to shine and prove she was leadership material.

Shania’s Payoff

Over many coaching sessions, Shania and I devised a strategy that could launch ground roots momentum for changes in her organization. Shania needed lots of encouragement to be the catalyst to influence the culture. With the help of other influencers in this company, Shania’s unofficial task force thoughtfully convinced management to implement vital cultural changes around discrimination. In the following year’s leadership development cohort, Shania and other minority and female influencers were invited to participate.

Shania and other influencers in this organization capitalized on self-fulfilling prophecy.

Thousands of Reluctant Leaders™ have benefitted from High Road® Leadership coaching. Is this something from which you can benefit?  




Ron Rael Leadership Provocateur, is a keynote speaker, consultant, and author.

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