How become a great leader when you do not feel like one
I have observed many leaders facing imposter syndrome.
Believing they have been put in the wrong place. Thinking they'll never become this image they have of an amazing boss, because they do not show up as the charismatic, smiley enthusiastic person that everyone loves.
Now I am going to share good news with you.
1. No, you are not a fraud
2. Yes, you can find your unique way to become a leader
3. Leadership doesn't come natural and can be learnt
Having said that, there are some key abilities and behaviours that once you master, will help you to become a better mentor for your team.
Empathy keeps coming up as the most important leadership skill.
Yet a lot of quiet introverted managers as well as extroverted ones, that are not at ease with sharing feelings, find hard being empathetic.
If you are not good at understanding people's emotions, you can start making note of small things they share when you catch up informally and react when people open up naturally.
Even when you struggle and are uncomfortable when that happens, you can still very warmly ask what they need and how you can help.
Also a lot of managers confuse being emphatic with being popular, getting along with their team and trying to get best buddies. Leadership is not a popularity contest, if you or anyone on your team wants to set boundaries on what they share about their lives it’s totally ok. Just be there to listen if they ever need you.
Let's start with the obvious here, trust is a two way street: If you want to be respected as a leader you need to trust your team, at the same time you have to work on gaining their trust.
Trusting your team means that once they have been given training, information, tools and resources needed to do their job, you should trust that they will do their best work. You make them accountable for the results and let them know that you can always support them if they even need you.
Once your team is empowered to take more autonomous decisions, your business will be operating at higher speed with less bottleneck scenarios. At the same time, once the team sees that you believe in their capabilities, it will bring the team's cohesiveness and motivation to a whole new level.
This is a very underrated skill. As I spend a lot of time analysing the root cause of errors and incidents in a company, I find they almost always go back to lack of clarity and not setting the right expectations.
Think about a scenario when something has slipped through the crack, how many times the first reaction is: “ Oh, I thought this is what we agreed on". Assumptions are the mother of all mess ups!
This happens literally at all levels and for small projects as well as for big goals.
Clear communication is not just about having a big change announced in a company wide meeting. It's ensuring that everyone - absolutely everyone - gets what it means for them, for their role, for their tasks at hand.
So whatever decision need to be taken make sure that is clear WHO, WHY, WHAT and WHEN
- Why are we running this project?
- Who is the final owner?
- What is expected to be delivered?
- When should I deliver this?
I am sure you are already working and using some of this, and if you still do not feel confident in one, keep practicing it with intention and give yourself time.
Would you like to work 1:1 with me?
I am always open for an informal chat to discuss where you are now and where you want to go, you can book it through my website