Practising leadership is about staying curious

by | Aug 8, 2022

When you step into a leadership role, you are also stepping into a space of vulnerability. 

You are opening yourself up for scrutiny.

And that can be concerning. But it shouldn’t be alarming. 

You’ll be questioned about your experience, what you bring to the role, what type of roles you’ve had….. and this is ok. 

People are curious – AND they also want to know what they can learn from you. 

A participant approached me in a workshop recently to say that it was refreshing to hear that I had taken on university study later in life. They had been hearing that voice in their head – that imposter narrative…. “I should do more, I should know more, my staff think I’m more experienced than I am. Society puts pressure on me to know more, be more, do more”.

I call BS on all of it. 

Please know that you don’t have to have ALL of the experience that your team does – that’s not your job. Your job is to guide, mentor, support and connect the team to the outcomes that are beneficial for both the organisation and it’s stakeholders, and the team you are leading. 

Sounds easy in theory, it’s harder in practice. 

And that’s why we practice – we deepen our knowledge and intentions around leadership to be great leaders, not just good leaders.

Whenever I coach leaders – particularly emerging leaders, they often ask how to get more experience, more exposure to leadership. 

Here are my thoughts;

  • putting our hand up for projects or tasks where we can learn or shadow someone more experienced
  • getting a mentor (or two, or three!)
  • immersing ourselves in opportunities in the workplace or community where we can learn from other leaders in action
  • consuming* books, articles, TED talks, podcasts and thought leadership in areas of interest (reach out if you need some recommendations!)
  • asking for a coach (I’d always advocate for an external coach)
  • doing the deep work on ourselves – understanding our preferences, motivators, personal values, biases, communication style, strengths and areas of non-talent 
  • saying yes to things that slightly scare us (in a good growth opportunity way!)

*Consuming could mean reading, watching or listening. Or for me, taking a dip…. A dip into a chapter of a book, a short podcast on a specific subject (like giving feedback,  delegating, communication, leading with empathy etc)

There are millions of other ways to practice leadership. It’s about staying curious and always knowing there’s work to do, while dropping the feeling that you have to know it all.

A qualified and certified organisational coach and facilitator, I partner with clients to bring together leadership, culture and strategy. Using tools such as Leadership Circle Profile, CliftonStrengths and The Emotional Culture Deck, my mission is to provoke thought and action for small shifts that make a big impact.  

Let’s connect! I would love for you to join the conversation over on LinkedIn.

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