1. Meet and make peace with your Imposter
According to a review article published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science, an estimated 70% of people experience the feelings associated with Imposter Syndrome at some stage in their lives.
But just because we feel like an imposter in one aspect of our work, on one particular day, or in one specific meeting, it doesn’t mean we are an imposter. It simply means we’re learning and growing into our role.
With this insight, we can re-frame our imposter syndrome feelings as proof that we’ve dared to take on something new.
2. Stop doing, start leading
When we step into a more senior leadership role, it often feels like we have even more to do in the same amount of time. And in order to get everything done, we start working longer, harder and faster. But that’s not the answer.
Instead, we need to work on our to-don’t list and our to-do list. We need to look for things to stop doing, and for things that we can delegate in order to free up time to lead.
3. Get comfortable not knowing
We may have the title or position of leader, but that doesn’t mean that we need to have all of the answers, all of the time.
Many leaders have a false and limiting belief that asking for help or saying you’re not sure of the best course of action is a sign of weakness. The reality is that it demonstrates real strength of character and shows those you lead that you genuinely value their input.
So next time you’re not sure…ask your team for their ideas.
4. Slow down in order to speed up.
But so often, the most effective way to achieve progress and momentum isn’t through speed of action alone. It’s through slowing down to speed up. It’s about being effective instead of simply being efficient.
Efficiency is quickly replying to 10 emails in a 5-minute break between Teams meetings. Effectiveness is pausing to write a single, clearly articulated email that your team will understand without requiring five or more follow-up emails.
5. Prioritise before you do anything else
Planning and prioritizing are some of the most energy-hungry tasks that we ask our brains to complete.
But, if we come to this task straight after 45 minutes of fast and furious emailing – which, let’s face it, many of us do – we don’t have sufficient brainpower for the task at hand.
The solution, therefore, is to prioritize before doing anything else and certainly before checking our emails.
6. Rethink how you delegate
The most common approach to delegation involves telling people what needs to be done and how to do it. The problem with this is that it provides people with very little freedom and autonomy, which we know leads to low levels of engagement.
A better approach focuses on telling people what needs to be achieved, why the task is important, and defining the boundaries within which they must operate.
Once you’ve done this, get out of their way and let them work out the how for themselves.
7. Stop working on other people’s priorities
Many of us have inadvertently created a deep-rooted habit of checking our emails before doing anything else. Some people don’t even make it to the shower or toilet before checking their messages upon waking.
This is an incredibly unhelpful habit that steals our focus, increases anxiety, and puts us firmly on the back foot. But worse than that, it sets us off working on someone else’s priorities because that’s what our inbox is; a list of other people’s priorities.
8. Stop trying to motivate your team
While nobody has ever felt demotivated when they started a new role or accepted a promotion, we find plenty of people within teams and organizations who lack motivation. This being the case, something must happen somewhere along the line to demotivate them.
I don’t believe it’s a leader’s job to motivate their team, but we must ensure good people don’t become demotivated. So as leaders, we must make sure we’re not doing anything to demotivate those that work with or for us.
9. Remember to say thank-you
Thank you. These are two small yet mighty words that leaders and team members can easily overlook.
Regardless of circumstances, people always have a choice about whether or not they continue to work for us, and if we don’t mind our p’s and q’s, people may vote with their feet and leave our teams or organizations.
(Thanks for reading this far!)
10. Appreciation matters more than recognition
Many of us think that recognition and appreciation are the same things, but they are not.
Recognition is positive feedback based on performance or results. In other words, when you produce a positive outcome, you get recognized.
Appreciation is about appreciating people for who they are, not just what they do. For example, a study at UC Berkeley showed that people were 43% more effective and productive when they felt their manager valued and cared for them. This was in contrast to being just 23% percent more productive when they felt recognized for their work.
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