Who am I, and how do others perceive me? Knowing ourselves is important, as awareness enables us to grow and become better. This aspect is especially important for leaders, as our personality and capabilities impact for better and worse on others and their sense of empowerment, security, purpose and consequently on their and the team’s performance.
Very often – perhaps always to some degree – there is a gap between who and what we strive to be as leaders and what we actually end up being in a hectic life. Travels, external meetings and priorities, strategic and ad-hoc issues – balancing the need to be “out there” with customers and external partners versus sufficient time for teamwork and communication. It’s always a struggle.
I know for certain that I don’t manage to live up to my own ideals neither as a leader or mom, and it often nags me a bit. We’re all just humans, so of course we shouldn’t judge ourselves too hard. But the key is to find the balance between our ideals and real life; striving for growth, learning and improving – and still accept that we will never be “perfect”. My philosophy is that I will always be me, with my set of strengths and flaws, but I am empowered to (and responsible for) defining and choosing how I use that unique toolbox.
And what I do know is that it’s the people around me that can be the best coaches, and especially my team (who are, I just have to say, quite amazing people all three of them!!!). I am also blessed with having two close colleagues with far more experience than me when it comes to lead people, which is a huge resource and value for me. Combined with external mentors of various seniority levels and personality types, this means that I get to look in the mirror and see how I’m perceived.
I’ll never strive for removing these parts of my personality, just find out how I can use them in a way that doesn’t hinder me or others. And I’m very open about my flaws, which is something I hope reduce the pressure on others around me to, and can enable us to utilize & lean on each other’s capabilities. Rather than feeling that we have to hide our weaknesses from our colleagues. In general, I strongly believe that when we co-create a trustful and open environment, the close colleagues will always be a very important source for input on how we can develop and improve. Not to mention, in my case; team colleagues are the source for discovering how I can support and challenge them, what type of leadership that’s required for them to be at their best. If everyone in the team or the organization focus on constructively supporting, challenging and sharing feedback with each other towards a goal where everyone grows and experience the platform of security that is required to innovate and look to challenge existing solutions – great work can and will be achieved.
I know for a fact that I have a lot to learn as a leader, and that I need to be open and responsive for input, encouraging others to challenge me. Next week, I’ve invited my team colleagues to join for a different type of employee dialogue: Walk The Talk.
It’s a concept I picked up from Microsoft, and I really like the different atmosphere and less formal approach. Also, it’s something about a walk and fresh air – it makes us more relaxed, responsive and open to think differently.
What it always boil down to is communication; so simple and yet so complicated. And the basic necessity, if we are to create room for improvement.
Well, that was some thoughts from the top of my brain -spilling out all over this post – before wishing you a great weekend!
PS: Those who know me personally probably (hopefully!) recognize the areas I listed above… But feel free to add to the list 😋