Three Actions that will Make you a Stronger Leader
Adopt these three principles in tandem, and your communication with others will be more straightforward, and your results will be more significant. Warning: these recommendations are not for the weak-hearted or weak-willed. You’ll have to be fearless enough to make yourself vulnerable and be okay with being uncomfortable. Neither is easy; both are worthwhile.
1. Put aside your ego. While you will always want to have positive esteem and self-worth, the ego I am talking about is different; this is the part of you that is too proud for your own good and feels a compulsion to be right versus the compassion to be kind. You have got to be willing to allow your ego to get bruised for the sake of clarity. Knowing the truth and licking your wounds is better than living under a cloud of doubt. Practice the skill it takes to honor and protect other people’s egos while disregarding your own.
2. Confront your fear. Set aside the hyperbole and all the clichés about stepping outside of your comfort zone and embracing your fears. This is not about jumping out of an airplane or letting tarantulas walk across your face. It’s about confronting the daily fears that quickly morph into overwhelm and freeze you with indecision and inaction. These are the obstacles to your goals. They are not typically life and death scenarios, but they can feel like it. We are too often afraid that people will think less of us or consider us incompetent. We irrationally worry about all the things that could cause damage to our fragile ego. We dwell on thoughts of imagined humiliation, pain, or hardship, so much so that we ignore facing the core problem head-on for as long as we can. We make excuses and tell ourselves elaborate stories to justify our hiding and delays, and we create a self-fulfilling prophecy because if we do wait too long, people will think less of us. You’ve got to be courageous. Have difficult conversations regardless of how much you shake, stutter, or cry.
3. Act on your potential regrets. The future can be hard to predict. However, you almost always can rely on your instinct and personal preferences. Our intuition is rarely wrong; the problem is, we seldom pay attention to how we feel. We second and triple guess ourselves out of making a decision and taking action on that decision. Ask yourself what you would regret more, having done something or not having done something? Living with regrets cast a terrible pall over your living. Put it in those polarizing terms, and you will suddenly know what you need to do. Occasionally you will be indifferent, or a decision may seem inconsequential. If that is the case, don’t reward it with valuable think time. Decide to do it, or don’t, and then move on without looking back.
Each time you face a difficult situation, get into the habit of running through these three principles. You’ll grow your confidence, your credibility, your willpower, and your leadership. Most importantly, you will build a life that you are happy to lead.
Boston-bred and California-chilled Karl Bimshas is a leadership consultant, author, and podcast host who collaborates with underestimated professionals who want to become confident, competent leaders in their field without becoming a jerk. Improve the working relationships with your colleagues and direct reports to create high-performing teams with a series of leadership workbooks available at LeadershipWorkbooks.com