One of the toughest challenges for leaders is not looking over their shoulders to see what everyone else is doing. There seem to be so many overachievers on our teams and in our work worlds who can respond more quickly or communicate more loudly than we will ever be able to do. It can really grate on our nerves to constantly be worrying that a colleague or co-worker will come up with a better solution for an internal or external customer. But aren’t we all supposed to be in this together? So why does it feel like we are judging our success on how others perform?
Why can’t we lead without comparing? We can if we shift our mindset:
FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS AND GIFTS
It is so easy to dwell on our weaknesses and blind spots but we need to stop that negative behavior. No one on our team is perfect so swap out that thinking by identifying what you are most proud of.
- Who asks you to be on their projects and why do they choose you?
- What types of work do you often get recognized for?
- If you could choose any assignment what would it be?
The answers to these questions may give you insight to your gifts.
RESPECT THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF OTHERS
Just as we have valuable contributions to offer our colleagues and co-workers, so do our team members. That means listening to what each person shares and giving them a chance to excel. If we want others to recognize our suggestions and ideas then we need to honor theirs. I learned early on that I could grow from a co-worker’s expertise if I just took the time to be more open-minded and less judgmental.
DEVELOP YOUR OWN UNIQUE BRAND
Would you be able to describe your brand to someone? A helpful exercise is identifying and writing out a “brand statement”. Not only is it critical for leaders to be able to share with others what they stand for, but it is also so empowering to discover how we can help someone resolve their challenges. In a way it’s similar to creating a “pitch” with the added benefit of honoring how far we’ve come and where we are headed.
DUMP “IT’S ALL ABOUT ME” MANTRA
When we are impactful leaders we understand that we shine when we help others reach their highest potential. This concept is one of the hardest ones for new leaders to put into action because they were initially recognized for their individual accomplishments. In order to grow from that beginning position, leadership is all about developing relationships and cultivating future leaders.
- Explore how you can partner with someone on a project
- During a coffee or lunch ask a team member what they are interested in, both at work and outside
- Learn a new skill or gain some insights from a procedure that a co-worker introduced
BECOME A TEAM SYNTHESIZER
Just like in an orchestra where all the instruments need to pull together to create magic, leaders need to stop comparing themselves to others and instead look for ways to harmonize. If we can lead by helping connect people together on a project, we will be elevating our team. Drawing on the many unique gifts colleagues possess, can ignite a workplace and transform a team.
How do you lead without comparing?