Reading through all the lessons that many leadership gurus share on social media and in their books, a leader can become overwhelmed. One can even begin to question whether they are a leader at all, given what they see others doing. Some of us work really hard in our jobs, consumed with our daily goals and objectives, unable to take stock in what we have accomplished. We think that other leaders are far more knowledgeable and experienced, not giving ourselves the credit we deserve. Have these thoughts or feelings ever entered your mind?
STOP! Stop sabotaging yourself and instead look at ways to own your leadership.
These 7 practices may help you see your leadership value:
1. Believe you are a leader
The adage goes- “If you believe it, it will happen” and this is so true of leadership. We need to see ourselves as leaders and envision what type of leader we want to be. If we just look around at other people’s achievements and never believe we have the ability, skills and traits of a leader, we will never be able to grow our own leadership. Believe you can.
2. Lead from anyplace you are
One of the first words I share with the participants in my workshops is what leadership means. It is not about having a title or position, but rather a way of acting. These are some questions to ask about whether you are a leader:
- Do I have a strong understanding of my role?
- Do I take responsibility for mistakes I make?
- Do I contribute my ideas and suggestions?
- Am I communicating clearing, directly and respectfully?
- Do I ask for help when I need it?
3. Acknowledge that Imperfection is a myth
I recently worked with a manager who felt she couldn’t perform certain parts of her job unless they were done to her liking. That meant she was paralyzed if she couldn’t be perfect. The result was missed deadlines or constantly moving up the deadlines. In the ambiguous workplaces we lead, we do not always have complete information and we may need to act without all the pieces. We need to do our best with what we have, even if that means reworking our results at a later date. Dump perfection!
4. Share your experience
Be a great storyteller by rolling out the lessons you have learned along the way in narrative form. Through stories people connect emotionally and will remember what you shared. Our storytelling empowers us to be stronger and empathetic leaders as we communicate our struggles and missteps while still allowing our gifts to shine.
5. Boost others up
Whenever possible, show appreciation and praise to others who help you accomplish your goals. Leaders know that when we value the expertise and work of others, they will want to contribute even more. Remember how you feel when people say “Thanks for your outstanding contribution to this project!”
6. Find a fan club
We own our leadership when we surround ourselves with mentors who have our best interests at heart. Our fan club includes individuals who will provide us with honest feedback as well as direction and networking opportunities. Who could be in your fan club?
- A past or current boss
- A colleague
- A friend
- An expert in our field who we have gotten to know
- A coach
7. Stay open to riding the waves
The thing about leadership is that it continues to evolve as we change positions, move to new areas of the country or world or become fascinated with new concepts. Committing to a “growth mindset” and realizing that change is the only constant will empower us to own our leadership wherever it may take us.
How do you own your leadership? What tools have propelled you forward?