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Keys to Leading Yourself

Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! Many leaders focus on addressing external challenges, but what about the internal challenge of learning to lead yourself? I’ve found that many leaders can be their own worst enemies and create adversity for themselves that isn’t necessary. On today’s podcast, we’re talking about three of the challenges leaders face internally and how you can overcome them.

3 Internal Leadership Challenges

1. Humility

Many leaders find it easy to believe they are creating their success. This belief can lead to arrogance and cause leaders to alienate their team, create conflict, and incite drama. Humble leaders know that leadership is about influence and impact, not authority. They recognize the value of the team around them and reap the rewards of a team that respects their character.

Signs that your confidence is slipping into arrogance:

  • You don’t look to serve; you look for ways your team can help you.

  • You don’t take ownership of poor results; you try to spin them in a positive light.

  • You expose your team to blame instead of protecting them.

  • Instead of deflecting praise, you are absorbing praise.

  • You are more focused on your achievements than the team’s goals.

  • Instead of engaging your team, you are starting to drive your team.

  • You talk first instead of listening.

  • You have stopped learning.

  • You derive your authority from your title, not your passion.

  • Instead of an open-door policy, you are using an invitation-only policy.

Q: How do you define humility? Do you find it harder to be humble or confident? Why? What is it like to work for a humble leader? What other characteristics did they have?

2. Self-Confidence

Humility is all about knowing you’re not the center of the universe, and self-confidence means understanding that you bring value to that universe. It’s healthy! Most leaders struggle with self-doubt at some point. Confidence helps quiet the internal voice that tells you you’re failing, not good enough or a fraud.

How to be a more confident leader:

  1. Be a student of leadership.

  2. Network with other leaders.

  3. Develop realistic self-awareness.

  4. Look confident.

  5. Develop your emotional intelligence (EQ).

  6. Ask others for help.

Q: Why do you think self-awareness is critical for self-confidence? Do you think that you can fake confidence until you believe it? Why or why not?

3. Vulnerability

It takes high emotional intelligence to admit mistakes, ask for feedback and learn from criticism. Many leaders prefer to project invulnerability, but great leaders take the challenge to be vulnerable, own it, and live it. They strive to be honest about their feelings, engage in difficult conversations with their team, and show their humanity.

How to become more vulnerable:

1. Apologize when you’re wrong

2. Get to know your employees

3. Share new or different ideas

Q: How do you feel when you see the word “vulnerable”? Describe a vulnerable leader you know. How do they show their vulnerability? How does their vulnerability make you feel? Have you ever worked for a leader who was too vulnerable? How was that experience different?

Application Activities:

  1. Gain self-awareness about how other people perceive you as a leader, specifically in the area of humility. Ask questions like, “When was the last time you felt like I valued your ideas?” or “How well do I accept blame when my team misses the mark?” Your boss, peers, and employees will have slightly different perspectives, so be sure to ask various questions to people at all levels of your company. Set aside time to evaluate their responses and reframe your view of yourself if necessary.

  2. Look at the steps to confident leadership above and choose one to improve this month. How could you change the way you dress or add a habit to your morning routine to increase your confidence?

  3. Challenge yourself to be more vulnerable this month. Remember that vulnerability doesn’t have to be a negative thing! You could be more vulnerable by sharing a new idea in a team meeting. You could share a problem you overcame with an employee to help empathize and encourage them to move past a setback.


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