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No. 1 LEADERSHIP TRAP: KNOWING ALL THE ANSWERS

One of the biggest traps leaders fall into is thinking that they need to be the most competent person in the room – the one with all the answers. Why is this a trap, you may be asking yourself? Two things;

1. It limits you and

2. It stifles contribution and creates incompetent teams.

Let’s deal with the latter first. If you are not allowing others to direct the conversation at times, you will stifle those that are quieter but more knowledgeable. Let’s face it, you know what you know, but you don’t know what others might know. How are you directing things to ensure everyone is able to share what they know?

Many leaders are tempted to have all the answers as a means to inspire confidence in their teams. Often though this has the opposite effect on some and causes them to have self-doubt and be intimidated, closing down contribution and discussion.

Switched on leaders know this is a trap to watch out for. Perhaps you would be willing to share a few of the ways you use to engage others to share their knowledge and ideas. What have you found most effective?

Now to point 1; how does being the most competent and knowledgeable person limit you? You might know that successful leaders often surround themselves with experts who are more knowledgeable in their subject matter. The implication is clear, if you are the most knowledgeable person in your team, you are going to become the bottle-neck for growth and achievements.

If you are willing to provide opportunities for others to speak, you will discover if you have created this limit for yourself. If this is the case, you can change this by firstly being aware of the ratio of your contributions to others and learning a few simple questions that open the space for others.

Perhaps as a start, as you join your next meeting, hold back and see where the conversation goes. Ask a few curious questions that generate new ideas. 

Self awareness is crucial for you to build your capacity and as you do you provide this as an example for others to follow. 

 

 

 

 

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THE LEADERSHIP TOOL WITHIN

We live in VUCA times – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous times. How so? It’s not rocket science. Just think of your own life: the rate of change of technology, how complex it is to turn on your TV now, your messages come in through multiple sources, there are endless articles, posts and emails to read every day, and these are not even our complex challenges. And, what happens when people are faced with uncertainty, change, ambiguity and complex issues? They get emotional, become fearful or immobilised.

The problem is we can’t do any thing on our own – with out involving others in some way. We need to be able to mobilise or influence others for all of us to get things done. So the question is, when we are driven by emotion and not rational reasoning, how can we create powerful influence to create wholesome cooperation?

Neuroscience shows ‘what is modelled matters most’. In other words we learn from what is in front of us. It is a phenomenon we know well – we copy what we see. This is because we have mirror neurons that function to replicate in our brains and bodies the experience of what we see out in the world. We know this from experience. It doesn’t matter what we say to children, they copy what they see. We even have the expression, ‘Monkey see, monkey do’, don’t we.

Modelling what we want from the inside out is key to influencing in the most powerful way. This is what people who transform systems are doing. They create impact by their very presence. This is what is meant by Ghandi’s invitation, “BE the change you wish to see in the word”. Whether people know it or not, when they are in front of you their mirror neurons are activated and they are having the experience you are having, so why not put their mirror neurons to good use and have the experience you want them to have, be that confidence or trust or inspiration.

Physics also supports this with the concept known as ‘Entrainment’ – the phenomenon whereby things that have an ‘energy’ or ‘resonance’ influence the things around them. Noticing that the pendulums of his clocks had synchronized, Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens, was first to talk about entrainment back in 1666.

Psychology also knows of ‘Emotional Contagion’ – the tendency for two or more people’s emotions to effect/affect each other. We know this intuitively as we feel the impact of a negative person walking into the room. We are affected by other peoples ‘energy’.

Think about it…it doesn’t make any sense that grandfather clocks would fall in sync and yet they do – it is a scientific fact. So if you want to have the power to effect what is around you, the systems around you, the key is in embodying it, so that you resonate it. It is vital that it is part of your emotional make up, because it is that which impacts the people around you. The change you want must be part of your own resonance, because that is what effects what is around you.

THE BIG QUESTION IS…how can you develop this kind of embodied influence, so you are being the change you want to see in your organisation, system or world?

THE most important thing is who you sit in front of, what is modelled for you. Choose mentors or coaches who are embodying what you seek to be – before your very eyes – as you sit your mirror neurons in front of them.

 
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HOW LEADERS STAY AHEAD

‘Ahead. Ahead of what?’, do I hear you ask? Answer: Self-confidence.

Yep, even leaders lack confidence at times. That’s because confidence, or the lack of, is the result of our mindset and that not a static.

 

A mind-set takes diligence to maintain and this is especially so in challenging moments. A mind-set is not only learned, it must be practiced to master, just like any other skill. The good news is, once mastered, it is effortless – it still needs to be maintained, but that’s a matter of polishing. And you know the trick with polishing? Stay on top of it and it isn’t like work at all.

Enjoy polishing your self-confidence. daily with these top FIVE ways leaders do:

  1. Be it.

Not only wise advice to ‘be the change you seek’ (Dalai Lama), science supports it. Carry yourself with confidence. Neuroscience reveals that your brain monitors what you body is doing and then decide how you feel. How can you do this if you have never behaved confidently before? Watch out for confident people who display self-assuredness and watch what they do. In fact, find three different people to discreetly observe and your brain will work out the patterns and start to create these behaviours in you. As a heads up, some standard non-verbals associated with confidence are: head high, upright posture, shoulders aligned with your spine, firm handshake and good eye contact when listening.

  1. Speak assertively.

A confident person speakers with certainty, in a steady, rhythmic tone.  Listen out for speakers you enjoy and be mindful of the way he or she speaks. Instead of  allowing “ums” and “ahs” to interrupt the flow, use a pause to collect your thoughts and it will work to emphasise your ideas.

If you are female and you naturally have a high tone in your voice, consider cultivating a slightly deeper tone. You can not be taken seriously if you are high-pitched, nervously chatter, twitter or giggle.

  1. Think positively to act positively.

Positive energy leads to positive outcomes, so determine to choose a ‘can do’ attitude. In addition you need to diligently look out for ANTs. ‘ANTs!?! What are ANTs’, do I hear you ask? Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) are a feature of every brain on the planet. Our brains are wired to protect us from danger by having a negative bias. How can you help overcome this negative bias? What ever you put attention on you reinforce and you get more of that. The more you focus on your positive traits the more your confidence will expand.

  1. Engage others.

Inaction breeds doubt and fear, but action creates confidence and courage. Take the initiative of approaching someone you don’t yet know at a networking event and introducing yourself. That is easy enough, isn’t it? And then, after the introduction, pay careful attention to them and be curious about who they are. See how much you can find out about what they do and why that appeals to them – how they go into that. People generally enjoy someone showing a genuine interest in them. Or, consider accepting a project you’d normally reject.

  1. Research.

If you go to an event, pay attention to who the speaker is, any VIPs welcomed and research them. We all have smart phones that allow us to do an internet search in moments. Memorise their role/title and some of their key achievements. You don’t have to mention these, just be aware and this will allow you to feel more relaxed – like you know them somewhat – when speaking with them (and remember tip 5, go up and say hello).

NOW, the key question is…

if you

choose to do just one of these things every single day,

how much would your confidence strengthen in a week?

And… if you

choose to do more than one a day,

consider the impact on your mind-set in a month from now.

NOW … the facts is, this blog won’t make any difference at all,

but you can if you

choose to proactively build your confident mind-set everyday.

Will you?