The 3 words destroying your leadership
Updated: Mar 14
So much about leadership is about - well, leading. But there's 3 little words that don't sound like much, but can be hurting your chances of giving your team the leader they are craving for, and manifesting for yourself the opportunities and success you deserve.
When I made the leap from Marketing to Change Management, I literally had to be convinced to take the job. It was my second interview with the insurance company, and my soon-to-be-leader was sitting there telling me I had all the relevant experience I needed to become a Senior Change Analyst.
But there was a little imaginary voice in my head that said something different. 3 little words.
I didn't listen to that imaginary voice (after all, that voice be crazy). I chose to listen to the lovely [very real] lady sitting in front of me, believing in me.
In that instant, my belief that I could actually do this career change, changed. I won't say that I believed it whole-heartedly. I still had my doubts. But I believed it just enough to accept the job, sign all the paperwork, and start that role as Senior Change Analyst a month later.
I took comfort that I was going into a Senior Change Analyst role, not a Change Manager role. It was a little more junior, which would give me time to learn and develop in this brand new profession.
So imagine my surprise when, on my second day, I got introduced by my Program Manager to the rest of the project team with: "Lata, our new Change Manager, has just joined." I felt like a fraud - in my head I was like, hang on... I... I'm not a Change Manager yet!! I'm just a Senior Change Analyst. Surely, I should correct my her? And those 3 little words popped up again.
I'm. Not. Ready.
But I'm sitting there with a team full of people, looking at me expectantly. And so I said: "It's great to be here, I'm so excited!"
Because they needed me to be their Change Manager. They needed me to step up into that role, despite the fact this was literally my second day in Change Management.
And so I turned my back on those 3 little words, and I stepped up to become the change leader that project needed.
Yes, I was still learning and developing behind the scenes. But I just listened, absorbed, asked questions, and delivered.
And I've been kicking goals in Change Management ever since.
A most common confidence block
Feeling like you're not ready is one of the most common confidence blocks I come across with my clients and community as an Executive Coach, and it's a shame that it's most often women rather than men who think it and say these 3 little words when faced with:
a new job
a challenging assignment
a career change
and, sometimes even opportunities in their personal lives.
In fact, a well-known statistic is that men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.
And LinkedIn found in 2019 that women tend to screen themselves out of the conversation and end up applying to 20% fewer jobs than men.
What you steal from yourself
The problem with this confidence block of needing to feel knowledgeable, qualified, experienced, or whatever else sits behind those 3 little words of "I'm not ready" is that often we are robbing ourselves of the opportunity to grow.
If we only ever went for the things that were in our comfort zone, we'd pretty much stay where we are. We need to stretch ourselves, take leaps of faith, and attempt new things to stay motivated and engaged and proud on our path to becoming our best selves, professionally and personally.
And, if you're not doing this as a leader, what's the likelihood your team is going to stretch themselves?
The good news
But the good news is that confidence blocks are just that - blocks. They aren't real. They aren't truth. And they aren't permanent, if you don't want them to be. They can be released to allow you to accept and feel more-than-ready to take the opportunities that excite and inspire you. And once you start, more and more success and stepping stones come your way.
So... how do you release confidence blocks like "I'm not ready"? Well, that's a story for another day.
Lata Hamilton is the Founder & CEO of Passion Pioneers, an Executive Coach and Change Leadership Trainer. Sign up to her Change Inspiration mailing list here to get weekly goodies such as articles, templates, tools, videos and upcoming courses direct to your inbox.