The end of the year is a great time to stop and reflect on where you're currently at, as well as where you want to be. But rather than thinking about tangible goals you want to achieve as a leader, it can be just as good to think about behaviours you want to change or things you could do to become a better you.
Three skills to help you build your confidence and step up how you lead
- Put yourself out there
As a leader, you need to be confident enough to take yourself out of your comfort zone. This means challenging yourself and asking, 'If what got me here won't get me there, what do I need to be doing now to step up?'
Human nature is more prone to negative and repetitive self-talk, however. This means we tell ourselves limiting stories that hold us back from our true potential. For example, we don't ask for a promotion because we think we're 'not good enough' or the answer will be a flat out 'no'.
To get on top of this, you need to pay attention to what is going on in your head. Then think about how to change or re-frame your self-talk to something more positive or at least neutral. For example, 'I'll never be any better,' to 'I love a challenge. It's time to push myself, get out of my comfort zone and see what I can really achieve.'
If you're looking to improve who you are and what you do, then just put yourself out there and ask! The worst thing you could do is just sit on the sidelines and wait for 'it' to come to you.
- Be vulnerable
Brett Clark is a CEO who includes authenticity and humility in his definition of good leadership. In Kirsten Galliott's 'View from the Top'(2017) article in the Qantas Inflight magazine he was quoted as saying, 'Authenticity is a word that gets thrown around a lot but I really do believe in it. I've got to be who I am; I can't present another version of me. People see through that straightaway.'
When asked what happens on the days that you're not feeling confident, his answer is, 'You say so. I don't think you can pretend. We all have good days and days that we hoped would be better.'
Vulnerability is the foundation for connection and trust. It determines how well others genuinely relate to you. When there is trust, there is connection, when there is connection there is influence.
No one else is like you in the world. If you are successful at expressing your uniqueness, others are more likely to perceive you as authentic and want to follow you as a leader. If all else fails, remember the quote commonly attributed to Oscar Wilde: 'Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.'
- Embrace failure
Just because we fall off the diet wagon during a holiday doesn't mean we are doomed to return permanently to poor eating habits. Just as when we make mistakes at work, it does not mean all hell will break loose.
When we allow ourselves to view relapse as failure, this often becomes self-fulfilling. Instead, we need to remind ourselves that failure is just an opportunity to learn.
Albert Einstein said that 'if you've never failed, you've never tried anything new'. Einstein's journey from a boy who some believe didn't speak until 4 years of age to the genius as he is known today took dedication, perseverance and a willingness to fail. This willingness to fail, to try new things and to view relapse as simply that - a relapse - will help you make change stick.
Never let a few days, or even weeks, of falling back into old habits and behaviours discourage you from re-establishing the behaviour you want to change. Instead, get back on the wagon and apply what you've learned to support you and help create your most amazing year yet.
Michelle Sales is a highly sought-after speaker, trainer, facilitator and coach who helps senior leaders and their teams learn to show up as the best version of themselves, to build their confidence and influence with others, and to maximise their leadership and performance. She is the author of the book, The Power of Real Confidence, published by Major Street. For more information, visit her website: www.michellesales.com.au