I recently gave a Strategic Networking workshop and I noticed that the topic of finding it difficult to speak to people in authority positions often comes up. They said when they are dealing with peers, they are fine but the moment someone more senior is in the room, they get nervous. Authority is relative, it can be someone like a teacher, a police officer, judge, doctor, or someone with a higher ranking in the company. 

They often worry about what the authority figure may be thinking and how they are coming across to them. They start worrying if they will look stupid or ask the wrong questions. It’s a lot of pressure they are putting on themselves. No wonder they are exhausted after such an interaction.

Where does the fear come from? It may be from your upbringing, where you were told to respect people in authority (without question), listen to them, and not answer back. It could be that you experienced judgement or criticism from someone in authority which has left a negative impression. The more that you do not interact with people in authority, the more it compounds this behavior.

What can you do to change this behavior? Start to understand where this is coming from, take the time to journal on it, or work with a therapist. Remember that we are all human beings and have the same hopes, fears, and dreams. Know that the person wasn’t always in that position and started from the ground up too. See different possibilities in that they may appreciate your input because you have a different view. It is important to start taking action and to start speaking up, step by step, and acknowledge yourself for this. 

If you are struggling to speak up to someone in authority and would like some help, book a free discovery call with me to discuss.