How do you make the decision to trust others?
That's the question that Jim Collins asked his mentor some years ago. Collins is a student and teacher of what makes great...
Our confidence levels can ebb and flow like the tides. We get pushed and pulled into different zones depending on our mindset, challenges and issues outside of our control.
Sometimes events occur that impact our confidence. We start to doubt ourselves, our decisions and we suffer from a severe case of the FODO's (fear of disappointing others). The impact is a lack of trust in ourselves and in our leadership capabilities. People around us also start to doubt us, as we seek reassurance and advice.
The good news is that we can learn to be more confident and trust ourselves. This not only improves your work enjoyment, but ensures you are creating a thriving team environment.
Here are the four areas that I focus on with leaders.
1. Develop greater self-awareness - As individuals, we frequently find ourselves deeply impacted by the opinions of others. This means that our emotions can easily sway us, and any feedback or critique of our work has a greater influence on us than it should.
We prioritise what other people think about us over the essence of our own energy. We look to others to validate our decisions or actions.
We all want to be seen, heard and appreciated, but this longing can lead us down the path of constantly trying to please others if we're not cautious.
In effect, we are neglecting our inner selves and allowing our lives to be dictated by the opinions and needs of others (whether expressed directly or not).
3. Connect to your internal compass - Leaders who don’t trust themselves tend to not trust others and the situation.
What's the antidote for needing external validation? Getting in touch with our internal compass.
Trusting yourself means being able to trust your inner guidance. It's that subtle ability to listen to the knowing (positive voice, not the negative one) in your head, the knowing feeling in your gut or heart.
In the noisy, high-pressured world we live in, connecting to ourselves isn't easy nor is it something we have been taught to do.
It involves focus, intention, practice and time with ourselves. This could be going for a walk, meditating, doing yoga or listening to relaxing music. The more we learn to tune out the world and be at one with ourselves, the more we improve our connection to our inner guidance. And the better we become at discerning the subtle differences between feeling negative emotions versus receiving inner knowing.
4. Improve your capabilities - Out of all the areas leaders choose to improve their confidence, improving capabilities tends to be the most popular.
We go to books, courses or we get a mentor or coach. We enrol in certification courses to give us more credentials to prove to the world that we are worthy.
While these are all positive, there is a warning label. And that is not to defer to experts to 'fix' you.
What is more important is to learn with the intention of not only gaining more knowledge, but self-knowledge as well. It's about thinking through the information you are given and contemplating whether you believe it and how you can apply it in a way that suits your leadership style.
It requires learning and actively talking to others about the content and sharing your experiences.
In my leadership development program, what people really value is group learning where everyone is encouraged to share their perspective and have time to reflect on their leadership behaviours. Discussions such as these help people to see that they are not alone. And sometimes, knowing that, helps leaders to quell the niggling self-doubt and fully own their leadership position.