So often though these leaders realise through the training that they have forgotten who they actually are in the effort to fit into their organisational culture and become a leader within it. They’ve hidden their true colours.
To understand and lead yourself means many things. The top areas I see which have the most practical results for leaders are:
Understanding your own thoughts – Taking the time to really understand your thoughts in areas such as why the role matters to you, what you want to achieve with your role, what’s driving you and equally what might be holding you back.
If there is any conflict between what is actually happening around you and what you truly want then you will feel unsettled. Sometimes we unconsciously hide what we want and avoid thinking about it because deep down we know this means we probably have to make some difficult decisions. Mentoring and training are really valuable tools here.
Managing your own thoughts – When you are being you and authentic that doesn’t mean sharing brutal honest comments the moment they pop into your mind. It’s being authentic in a positive way. So if you feel that something isn’t right then that means making sure that you’ve understood your own emotional response to the situation so you can share the issues in a positive way. If you are feeling in yourself a ‘grey’ day for example, then being authentic doesn’t mean explaining that to everyone in the office and spreading the gloom. It means seeking to understand why you feel the way you do. This takes practice and we cover these skills in detail in our resilience course.
Being assertive – This is about having the confidence to share your needs and to respect your thoughts, ideas and beliefs whilst respecting others too. If you don’t feel you can share your views then that is showing you cannot be yourself. Longer term this block will cause you low mood and the feelings of not being valued. You don’t have to swing your colours from the highest flagpole singing to be assertive 😊 It’s just about giving yourself permission and courage to share your input in a positive way. Leadership training can help here especially if you are lacking in confidence or have team challenges. .
Understanding your values – This is about exploring what is important to you and why is it important. Are your personal values in alignment with your leadership role and your work? If not, how can you shape or influence your work or start planning an exit to a role that is a better fit for how you feel? If you submerge your true colours to fit in then this leads to longer term disengagement and poor results for the organisation and very likely stress related symptoms in yourself. How you feel is just as important as to how you think. If you’ve made a logical decision and overridden how you feel the red mist of annoyance is likely to be firing away! There are always other Career options to explore rather than burning away.
Understand your skills and knowledge – Have you taken time to review what works for you? What are you naturally good at? Where are your colours sparkling? Are your talents visible and recognised by the team? What areas are really hard work for you? What learning goals do you have? How does this all fit with what your role needs? If you have any areas where you feel you have insufficient knowledge, skills or time to achieve them compared to your inner resources then that is very likely to lead to stress. On the opposite side if you have great experience and skills then by using them through a structured mentoring programme you can gain even deeper leadership skills, satisfaction and help others too.
Happy Leadership 😊