As the only woman on the executive leadership team at the strategic offsite, Heather* was reluctant to risk speaking up. She asked the facilitator to present on her area of accountability rather than do it herself. It was a decision that she later deeply regretted. She was sick and tired of holding herself back. She wanted to build her confidence and break out of the protective bubble that she had created for herself.
Heather decided to take on a stretch objective to formulate a restructure of the business and present it to the executive leadership team. She realised that her fear of being seen as an impostor was limiting her. She decided enough was enough; she was willing to burst out of her protective bubble. Once she made the commitment to move outside her comfort zone, her mindset shifted. She began to see evidence from her career experience for being, in her words, ‘a woman of substance.’
She was relieved that she did not need to build her confidence with swagger, body language or other inauthentic confidence building strategies that some of her colleagues employed. Her confidence came from knowing her value. Heather realised that her collaborative strength was just what the siloed business needed. Her mindset shift enabled her to move her focus away from her perceived shortcomings and on to her stakeholders’ problems and the value that she could offer them. The executive leadership team were delighted with her recommendations. Her views became highly sought after. Now when she spoke at the leadership table people listened. More importantly, Heather experienced herself making the difference that she had always wanted to make.
In this HBR article, Tony Schwartz suggests that, “Great leaders don’t feel the need to be right, or to be perfect, because they’ve learned to value themselves in spite of shortcomings they freely acknowledge. In turn, they bring this generous spirit to those they lead.”
Are you confident in your value?
Best regards, Brian
*Name changed to protect the innocent
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