As a leader, no matter at what level, you will likely at some point find yourself wondering whether you’re making the right decision.
The degree of self-questioning will likely vary depending on your knowledge, skills, experience as well as how you feel about your role as a leader.
For most, the doubts will pass quickly-ish and you’ll move on with your day.
But for some, making decisions with high-levels of impact creates constant anxiety. To the point of it being incapable of actually making a decision. In extreme cases, it can devolve into an actual case of imposter syndrome.
So what can leaders do should they find themselves potentially dealing with imposter syndrome?
The very, very first thing is, let's understand what it is that you are dealing with. The Oxford Languages defines imposter syndrome as: “The persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved...
There are days, as a leader, when it feels like all we’re doing, all day long, is directing traffic.
Getting individuals unstuck by answering their questions, course-correcting projects by providing needed feedback, slowing some down who might be skipping a few steps and getting a little too far ahead.
And when that happens, it’s also usually when there’s an audit of some sort that suddenly pops up requiring a bunch of documentation “tomorrow” and the day is filled with meetings and you’re supposed to be working on the next strategic move.
So what are a few things that leaders can do to get through these “traffic control” days as best as possible?
Whether we like it or not, it's part of our role to support the team. Being a leader does require a lot of energy for us to generate and dedicate that energy to guiding and supporting the team.
Unfortunately, it tends to happen in big...
It’s quite typical for organizations to promote from within. You may have identified an extraordinary team member that has demonstrated leadership qualities in a variety of situations.
And that is certainly a great start.
But it is a start.
Although they may possess deep expertise executing tasks and collaborating with colleagues, obtaining positional power changes the dynamics.
So what can leaders do to help ensure that newly appointed managers have been provided with the basic essentials to also be effective?
The very first thing is choosing the role model mindset.
Yes, I know. We hear it all the time. The leader as a role model. Although not exactly new, it is essential. And, it's one thing to know about it. It’s another to actually be doing it.
Leading by example is absolutely one of the fundamental pillars of effective leadership. It’s the infamous “You need to walk the talk.” You can't just say one thing, then...
Typically an organization's mission and core values are shared with new team members as part of some form of onboarding activity.
Then, they may be repeated at a yearly meeting of sorts. And maybe at that yearly meeting of sorts there's also going to be goal sharing and various ways that progress will be measured.
And for most organizations, that's pretty much the extent of the team member's exposure to ongoing strategy, the mission, and the values.
Basically, “Here's how we're going to measure and here's where we're going.” And that's pretty much it. It's sporadic and it's vague.
So what can a leader do to help create more opportunities for team members to connect with that broader picture?
The very first thing to verify is whether the elements are clear. Do individual team members understand what is the organization's vision, its mission, and its goals?
It's one thing to share these with the team. It’s another to know that they...
Recently, I was chatting with a fellow business owner about training their new leaders. As part of that conversation, we talked about the importance of new leaders finding ways to build their leadership confidence.
There are some very real consequences to both having leaders who are recklessly confident and those who are unjustifiably insecure.
So how do we create conditions that will encourage new leaders to find that middle ground where they are both confident yet still able to lead with humility?
Ideally, it starts before you promote them. If you have a tendency of promoting internally, then you've probably already identified individuals that you feel would make great formal leaders.
And before you just assume that they want that responsibility, check with them because they may not be interested. Not everyone wants to lead a team. It doesn't make them bad people or bad employees! It's just a choice.
Some people love what they do right now and they want to do it for...
Anyone leading any kind of initiative knows that there are several aspects, departments, teams that come together to contribute to success.
And the leader is usually the one keeping an eye on everything.
We are frequently the head juggler, trying to keep all the balls in the air, or – at least – we work really hard at not dropping too many. As part of that juggling exercise, we tend, some of us anyway, to want all the things all at once this month.
What we must keep in mind though, is that there's an extremely fine line between pushing for results and overextending ourselves and our team.
If you find yourself, or you're finding your team, frequently remarking that there's not enough time, then it's important to start digging into the issue and make sure that we're not in fact setting ourselves up or setting our team up for burnout.
So how can we evaluate whether what seems on the surface like a time management issue is actually hiding a much larger problem?
Wanting to make a positive first impression as the new leader of a team is a pretty common desire.
Whether it’s truly being new to leadership, the first time leading a team, or even taking over perhaps an underperforming, jaded team, making a positive first impression can help set the right tone. Or, at the very least, help start the relationship on the right foot.
So what are some things that leaders can do to help ensure a positive first impression?
The most essential aspect is being authentic.
Hopefully, you're a people person. If you're in leadership, whether you decided to be a leader or fell into being a leader, hopefully it means that you care deeply about people.
Because, of course, as you've heard me say, there is a difference between being a leader and being a boss. The leader is the person who cares, who truly is there to elevate the team members, and the boss is just the one saying: “Do this”.
So be authentic when you're introducing...
Without falling into the hustle glorification trap, I think it’s safe to say that most of us leaders struggle with juggling the demands on our time, getting those priorities addressed, while remaining adaptable.
So, how can we, as leaders, be both adaptable and focused on advancing initiatives?
As a CEO myself, that unfortunately is also a constant struggle and I have to remind myself of the need to push for focus otherwise my time would get swallowed up.
For sure, when running an organization, it’s essential for us to be able to adapt to whatever is being thrown our way.
Whether it’s a major complaint that needs investigating, an essential team member who leaves suddenly or even a client that demands a situation be solved “today”, these unexpected challenges can threaten to swallow up our days, weeks or even months.
I know for myself sometimes it feels like all I do is go from one crisis-of-the-day to the next. And...