I hear this question more often than you’d expect for someone who specialises in coaching leaders.
What causes the doubt?
I’ve observed that it comes down to one of two things:
- Don’t know what you’re doing as a leader
- Some person(s) in the team behaving like assholes and you’re tired of it.
Don’t know what I’m doing
When I was a leader, officially, for the first time, I didn’t know that I was doing. I was helpful, took the time for training and guidance, set clear expectations. Like most new and experienced leaders I did do some things right, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And what I didn’t know made my life so hard.
Because I especially didn’t have a clue how to handle underperformance. Actually a better way to explain it is to say I only knew the command and control method – it’s all I’d ever seen. And it is terrible for dealing with underperformance.
And I’m not the only one. Dealing with underperformance is probably the most avoided task in organisations, ever.
Someone in the team is an asshole.
“Amber, I’ve got someone in my team who just complains all the time. It’s infecting the team. And dealing with this takes up so much energy, I’m exhausted”.
That’s what it can look like.
And in a worst case scenario it looks like this: you’ve got someone being manipulative and insincere: agreeing to things in a meeting, then afterwards undermining the plan at every step. Then denying it to your face.
The really sad thing is that when we don’t know what we are doing, and/or when we’ve got people in the team misbehaving, it’s so easy to think we shouldn’t be leading.
“I’m not cut out for this.”
“I’m not good at this.”
“I like the technical side of my job but I’m not sure about the people stuff.”
“Maybe I should take a step back and do what I’m good at”.
All things my clients have said to me. All wonderful people. All changed their minds when they realised they didn’t have to fit a predefined picture of a leader.
Every single one of them, with coaching and training, have defined their own way of leading, and enjoy the results.
“My team is now motivated and and enjoying their jobs, even the one who was complaining all the time. I created this for my team. I feel great that I know how to do this, and feel comfortable doing it. And I’ve found the patience to let this grow”.
Personally I think it’s a good sign to question if you want to be a leader. Why?
Because no one wants to be led by someone who just stumbled into the position and doesn’t care about leading.
Because after reflecting on it, you can make a clear decision and commitment to remain a leader, on your terms.
“What’s a leadership series? How’s it different from the thought series or coaching tips? Good questions.“ This series gives you tips to take your own leadership to the next level, and ways you can extend your own capabilities. Ready to take your skills to the next level, but aren’t sure where to start? Get in touch with me.