Have you ever struggled with what type of leader you will be? Will you be the “Mr. Nice Guy” who lets everything slide? Will you become besties with everyone on your team? Or will you be the tough as nails leader who controls everything? You know the “because I’m the boss and I said so” type of leader…
We’ve all had certain leadership modeled for us. We’ve worked for some pretty amazing leaders and then some pretty terrible leaders (am I right?). Those experiences have led us to believe that leaders must or must not act a certain way. We start to model our own leadership style from what we’ve experienced. While this may sound good in theory, it can have some negative side effects.
One of those side effects? Imposter Syndrome. When we spend too much time comparing ourselves to our most admired leader, we start to feel inadequate or like we will never measure up. We measure ourselves based on what we’ve seen.
Instead of focusing on what type of leader you will or won’t be, focus on staying true to yourself.
“Being your true self is the most effective formula for success there is.” – Danielle Laporte
Embrace your quirks, embrace your weaknesses, and embrace your strengths. Embrace all the things that make you unique. If you spend too much time trying to be someone you’re not, your team will see right through it.
Imagine the sensitive leader who decides to play bad cop for a day. Not only does it feel uncomfortable being something you’re not, it’s not effective. Sure your employees may know you’re angry in the moment, but they’ll also not take you seriously because they know you’ll be over it and back to your people pleasing ways by the end of the day.
So how do you know what type of leader you are? Start by being self aware. Be okay with being different, that’s what makes you stand out. That means, no copycats!
Being different is a good thing. You have your own leadership style, even if you haven’t identified it yet. Do the work to get to know yourself and your individual style. Be okay with your style evolving over time.
One way to be comfortable with who you are as a leader is to use your own story and your own background. Those experiences have shaped who you are. Your story is a powerful one and your team will be able to relate even if they don’t share the exact same experiences. If you are in a leadership role, you are a leader. You don’t need permission to lead.
Create collaboration by bringing your brain, your ideas, and your innovations to the table. People will be resistant to change at first and may initially reject your decisions, but after a while, they will learn to come around. Learn to not back down, stay true to your beliefs, they are valuable. You can listen to feedback from your team, but stay committed and don’t betray yourself or your values.
Being a great leader requires listening, even when we don’t want to hear it. Part of being self aware is listening to feedback from others. Even if it’s not delivered in the best way, is there some truth to the feedback?
People rarely give feedback from a place of bad intentions, so try your best to be open-minded and accepting of what they are saying. You can listen to what they’re saying and ultimately it’s up to you if you want to change. Remember, you are unique for a reason and just because one person gives you feedback doesn’t mean you have to change.
Sometimes we feel like we have to put up a wall and not share anything about ourselves or our personal story. It’s actually our personal story and background that connect us to the people on our teams. Sharing your story helps people relate to your humanity. Your story may be different, but it allows them to get to know you. They’ll begin to understand your vision and values so they can get inside your head and support you in the long run.
How has your personal story influenced how you lead people?