Thursday, November 29, 2012
“I can’t do this anymore” were the words I recently heard from an emerging leader who I coach. She was struggling with a number of aspects of her leadership role and the biggest was her perception of how others expected her to act in her role. She was uncomfortable with the assertive style and directive tone that was common of leaders in her company and more so, she was uncomfortable with the fact that this had become common for her. She didn’t like the way she felt about the style she had adopted nor did she want to continue to lead in this fashion. I challenged her to recreate her leadership style by following these four steps:
First, accept what’s not working. What’s making you uncomfortable? Often times you’re being asked to do things that aren’t aligned with who you truly are, like my client. Recognizing and accepting what is not working for you in your current style is the first step toward changing.
Next, decide what is working. There are likely things you are doing and aspects of your leadership style that you are comfortable with and which resonates with your authenticity. Highlight these and commit to keeping them on your list of traits to display.
Third, determine the type of leader you want to be. Who are your role models and what characteristics do they display? Which of these are currently missing from your own traits? What would it require for you to begin to add these characteristics to your style?
Finally, step into the new version of you. Begin to act in ways that align with the leader you want to be and stop doing those things that you decided no longer work for you. Take small steps to do this. Sometimes shedding the old traits and displaying the new ones will not go over well in your current environment. If you discover that is the case, it may require a deeper look into whether or not you are in the right environment to act as the leader you are meant to be. The only way to discover this is to step into that new leadership style and be true to who you are meant to be as a leader. Whether in your current environment or a new one, if you do this one-step, one day at a time, eventually your recreated leadership style will become your new norm.