Is leveling up your leadership skills on the agenda this year? If so, let’s talk about building a strong foundation from which to grow. Great leaders foster high-performing teams, leading to successful businesses with inclusive company culture. For all that to happen, there’s one very necessary ingredient: TRUST.
I’m not talking about whether or not your boss trusts you. Nor am I’m not talking about whether or not your direct reports trust you. I’m talking today about whether or not you trust yourself. After all, we can’t expect people to follow our lead if we project a lack of confidence in where we’re leading them.
Trust Me on This
Learning to trust yourself is a common challenge, especially after facing adversity, toxic workplaces, or upheaval in our personal lives. For any of you who share that tendency to doubt yourself, I’d like to share 6 strategies for building self-trust.
#1 – Perfect Is Impossible: With the exception of a chocolate Shake Shack shake, nothing and no one is perfect. I’ll be the first to tell you about all the mistakes I’ve made, but I’ve learned to accept them and I encourage you to do the same. Give yourself the same grace you would anyone else. When it comes down to it, failures are nothing more than learning opportunities – so be kind to yourself!
#2 – Nix the Negative Self-Talk: Do you ever tell yourself that you can’t do something? You’re not skilled enough to get the job…? You’re not smart enough to get an advanced degree…? That’s all got to stop. The stories you tell yourself become your reality, so I urge you to make an effort to tell yourself only positive stories. The simple fact is that if you want something enough to work for it, you can absolutely do it.
#3 – Know Your Values: At Ascentim, we are values-driven. It’s a core part of our process, connecting people to their zone of strength where passion, strengths, and values align. If you haven’t yet, take some time to think about what’s most important to you. Your core values should be unshakable pillars that guide every decision you make.
Trust is the foundation of effective leadership. When we fully trust ourselves to lead, it fuels our vision.
#4 – Trust Your Gut: There’s scientific research in favor of intuition. It’s actually a quick scan by the brain of the self, the environment, and the lived experience that makes those snap decisions. Try not to discount them or overthink them. Your first instinct is usually the right one, but you’ll never know if you talk yourself out of it. Try an intuition challenge – for one month, commit to your first reaction when decisions need to be made, and see for yourself how powerful your brain is.
#5 – Embrace Vulnerability: We nixed the negative self-talk, but it’s still important to be honest and open with ourselves. Hiding from the truth or pretending that things are anything other than what they really are can hold us back. Once you know what your vulnerabilities are, you gain the power to overcome them, along with a little more faith in yourself.
#6 – Set Boundaries (And Stick to Them): Boundaries can be so hard to set, especially if they cause self-doubt. Many of my clients worry they might be seen as being selfish or unfair, but boundaries exist simply to set clear parameters about what is and what is not acceptable. Setting and maintaining boundaries is a critical skill for leaders. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become, and your self-trust will grow.
But What About Everyone Else?
Almost like magic, people around you will start to trust your leadership more as your trust in your ability to lead gets stronger. You’ll make decisions with greater confidence and the faith to back them up.
You can help facilitate this process by taking additional steps to earn the trust of those around you. It’s essential that you’re honest, authentic, and transparent. Also, you must communicate clearly and with empathy, and come through on the commitments you make.
As colleagues learn they can rely on you – as much as you can now rely on yourself – that high-performing team in that wildly successful business you dream of will come into existence.