Feb 14 Is Your Leadership Held Back by Old Beliefs?
What you believe is so important to your success in life. But certain kinds of beliefs can hold you back. Whether I’m working with a C-Suite client or a senior-level team, I often uncover old beliefs that impede performance. Leaders may cling to mistaken beliefs that undermine confidence, focus, and executive presence. You may doubt that you have sufficient talent or academic qualifications. Maybe you were passed over for a promotion, and still believe you aren’t worthy of one. Perhaps you think you’re too old to compete, or two young and inexperienced to lead. Ego can also lead us to believe falsehoods to avoid holding ourselves accountable.
Consider these other self-belief traps:
- Maybe you falsely believe you lack qualifications. Leaders also succumb to exaggerated beliefs about themselves. We’ve all recognized that in bosses convinced they are always the smartest, most valuable person in the room.
- Harvard Business Review (HBR) pointed out that ego makes you more susceptible to manipulation because you crave the wrong attention. Ego can obscure vision, isolate you, and make you less empathic, inclusive and collaborative.
- You may also think that you cannot reveal your human vulnerability. But people respect leaders who aren’t afraid to disclose their human side. Be authentic and you’ll be more relatable.
- I often see leaders who believe they are so indispensable that they cannot take time off or seek a healthier balance. But wellness and joy are essential components of sustainable, charismatic leadership. Too many high-potential leaders burn out – with nobody to blame but themselves.
- Deeply-held belief systems and patterns of behavior and cognition are hard to recognize. So they remain unquestioned as they grow more entrenched, weakening your leadership.
Leadership is a lifelong learning experience. The more you learn about yourself, the more effectively you can lead others. The more you’ll also uncover misleading, mistaken beliefs that can undermine your career. Take the time and effort for self-examination, at the leadership DNA level. That’s as important as anything else you do as a leader. But we can be blinded to our own unconsciously held beliefs. That’s why a qualified and trusted mentor, therapist, or leadership development coach can be extremely valuable. Remember, leadership development only starts when you are ready to work on the inner game and reject old, mistaken self-beliefs.
Here are 3 key lines of inquiry to jumpstart the process of identifying and eliminating self-limiting beliefs:
- Think of times you’ve been told you aren’t good enough, worthy, or capable. Ask yourself if you should still believe that deep-down.
- Question why you hold on to that belief. That may reveal a deeper-seeded belief. Some false belief systems are rooted all the way back in childhood.
- Reject those unfounded beliefs and replace them with valid beliefs in yourself and your value.
There’s no reason to let old, mistaken beliefs keep you from being the very best version of yourself, personally and professionally.
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Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Deloitte, McKesson, Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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