Stepping up

Knowing when and how to claim your role as a leader

You’ve worked hard to achieve a leadership role in your business or team. You are well respected and feel that your leadership style is really connecting to those who surround you. You have energy and passion for what you are doing. So, what is holding you back? Recently, a client of mine was in this exact scenario. While there can be a number of things blocking anyone from standing up and really leading fully, this client had two major hurdles. One was internal to them, the other external. It led me to think about other situations like this and I released that in most cases these “blocks” can be categorised into those two areas.

Internal blocks

These can refer to anything that you hold in your own mind or being or experience that has an impact on your mindset and therefore limits your belief in your own abilities to accomplish something. We are made up of our experiences. Each moment in our lives shapes how we see our world and ourselves, each challenge changes our lens and each accomplishment shades it yet another colour. Eventually these changes in our perspective directly affect how we make decisions for ourselves. In this particular client’s case the block was confidence. Am I really here? Can I really be good enough to take on the full leadership position? Will my colleagues see me as their leader when I’ve been one of them for so long?

Is your confidence ready to step up? I’m yet to meet a true leader who hasn’t questioned their own confidence at some point. At some level, we all have moments where we wonder if we are going to get found out. The shift in mindset comes in realising that we are all learning. We are all human. We will make mistakes. Great leadership comes when we realise all this and use it to lead. We open ourselves up to our colleagues and say “I am a bit scared of this role and the responsibility it comes with but I am willing to take it on openly and share the ride with you. Will you support me?” Creating this acceptance of vulnerability is hugely empowering to your team and makes you easy to connect with.

External blocks

These are the hurdles that might involve the timing within the business being right for you to take on a certain role, or perhaps another person hanging on to the position when it really is time for them to move on. These external blocks can be harder to navigate because they are seemingly “out of your control”. So, the best approach is to ask yourself “what about these blocks are you able to influence?” Have you spoken to the person in the role about what they want or need in their future? Can you offer a supportive way for them to see what they might need to do or change?

In these cases, it is still up to you about how you approach this. Be confident (now that you know how to do that) and trust yourself. It is your time to shine brightly and lead the way that the world really needs today – with real openness and vulnerability, trust and communication.