Today we are digging into the difference between being a leader and thinking like a leader. I believe you can be a leader regardless of title so note that this episode is relevant to you.
The way that we think about ourselves and our leadership abilities impacts how effective we are at work. Whether it be how well you influence others, how well you manage your time, or if you’re able to speak up and say the hard things.
Tune in today to learn just how your thoughts impact your leadership and the simple changes you can make to be more effective in your role.
Mentioned in this episode:
- Register for the training: 5 Mistakes Good Leaders Make
- Learn more about the Stand Out Leader Incubator
What you’ll learn:
- The difference between being a leader and thinking like a leader
- How doubting yourself is holding you back more than you think
- A simple exercise to start thinking like a leader today
- Details about my upcoming training: 5 Mistakes Good Leaders Make
Work with Melissa:
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Welcome to Your Worthy Career, a podcast with me, Melissa Lawrence. I’m a career and life coach with all the corporate credit and talent development and organizational psychology. I help women like you get extraordinary results by being more you, not less. I won’t just help you have a career experience worthy of you, but I will help you build your self worth to shift what you think is possible and take the action that will create the career you’ve always wanted. Whether it’s more meaningful work you’re passionate about, making more money, getting to your next level, or being more effective as a leader, we are shattering the glass ceiling here. The one that exists for women at work and the one we put on ourselves with our doubt and inner critic. Each week you will get practical teachings grounded in neuroscience and effective career development strategies. You’ll experience deep mindset shifts and the perfect amount of rule so you can run your career with ease rather than your career running you. You were born for more and I’m going to help you get there with maybe a few dance parties along the way. Your up level begins now.
Hello and welcome, cheetahs. This week we are going to talk about the difference between being a leader and thinking like a leader. This is almost a continuation to last week’s episode about trust and being authentic. This is relevant to you regardless of where you are in your career. Even if you don’t have a leadership title, this is for you. This is something that we also talk about very early on in the stand out leader incubator, which is my leadership development program for women in the industry. So you can have all of the technical capabilities. You can have the title. But I want you to think about and ask yourself, what happens when you go into a meeting with your peers or senior leaders? Are you seeing yourself as a leader in those environments? Or are you sometimes doubting yourself, wondering where you can share your ideas or opinions, maybe worried what others are thinking about you? Are you getting offended by one of your colleagues and then maybe start to spin out a little bit that they are trying to sabotage you or throw you under the bus, trying to make your team look bad?
When you attend trainings or conferences outside of work, are you showing up as a leader there, or are you using it as an opportunity to just float through the breakout rooms and the presentations and be distracted or preoccupied with your phone? How are you really showing up in those spaces? Are you struggling to manage your time? Are you showing up late or maybe even feeling scattered when someone questions you, whether it be a decision you made or your technical opinion? Are you getting defensive? There’s a lot that goes into leadership because leadership is a role. It’s also a self concept. And on top of it all, you are a human, right? You know this, you are a human and you have thoughts and feelings and beliefs and a brain. And so it’s more than just being this generic cookie cutter version of a leader, like a suit that you just put on or a hat that you put on and then you’re transformed into this other person. You are who you are and your role as a leader is partly what you think about yourself and also a title or role or responsibilities that you have.
But it’s not something that you can just put on like a robe and then take off. They’re all interconnected. And if you think about it, all of these scenarios that I talked about that I mentioned already, they can impact you regardless of the level you’re at, how you’re showing up in meetings at conferences, how you are seeing yourself when there are other leaders or your peers at the table. This happens to all of us in any work situation at any level. So if you’re feeling a little called out by some of the examples that I gave, know that this is normal. I have been there, my clients have been there. It’s how I can talk about it like I do, right? Because I understand. And even though this is normal behavior, it doesn’t mean that we can’t grow past it and rise above it. It doesn’t have to just be the way that it is. How you think about yourself impacts not only what you feel and what you do, but it also impacts what you spend your time thinking about. Now, take the example of being in the meeting. If you’re in a meeting and you’re thinking about whether or not you belong there, or when you can share what you have to say, you’re waiting for that moment to share your perspective, what you’re not doing is listening, being present, or thinking about what other people in the meeting might need, where they might be coming from, how you can best contribute.
And those are all things that are important for leaders to do. So if you’re caught up in your feelings about someone, you also lose the ability to think critically. When we’re really stressed or overwhelmed, when we’re frustrated, when our feelings are hurt, when we’re feeling rejected or embarrassed, the thing we’re not doing is thinking critically, which is again putting you in the passenger seat of your leadership role. You move from being the leader to being on the sidelines. If you’re comparing yourself to other people and letting that influence how you show up, what you say, what you do, you let it decide if something is possible or not, then you’re not being you. You’re not being a leader, you’re being a follower. Now, I feel like I’m going hard on this episode, but I think you really need to hear this. I think it’s going to change a lot for you. Now, the way you think about yourself, whether or not you really see yourself as a leader, it makes a difference. You can have the best resume and have a senior title, but it doesn’t mean that you’re thinking like a leader when it comes to your self concept.
I’ve had clients at the vice president level that struggle with this. You’re not alone if this is you. So let’s talk about what self concept is. Self concept is simply the image we have of ourselves. It’s the thoughts we have about ourselves, the beliefs that we have. And it’s influenced by everything around us, from your parents or caretakers and what’s on TV to your lived experiences to the lessons you’ve learned, the failures you’ve had, the success you’ve had. It can be something like, I’m an introvert, so I’m not good with people, which can feel like a fact. And this one is really interesting to me because I think there is a lot of false information out there that is telling people these general stereotypes. And then the people that consume that information, they start to take that on as their self concept. Being an introvert actually has nothing to do with whether or not you’re good with people, just like being an extrovert doesn’t. But we put labels on ourselves, and then when we tell ourselves we aren’t good with people, guess what happens? We aren’t good with people. We doubt we can talk to people.
We doubt what we say. We overthink. Because we take on this belief as part of our identity, our self concept. And when we do that, then we end up fumbling over our words. We end up not speaking up, which makes us less good with people. But it’s all coming from this self concept, this belief we have about ourselves. And this is just one example of how the way we think about ourselves impacts our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. So if you’re not believing that you are a great leader, you won’t be as great of a leader as you could be. It will hold you back. This is why leader mindset and leadership philosophy are important parts of my leadership development community of the standout leader incubator. You can have the title and all of the generic training and leadership, but if you don’t know who you are as a leader and you don’t have the confidence to be her, or you have self-concept beliefs about yourself that prevent you from being her, it all holds you back. So let’s put this into practice with something that you can do today. You know, I like to give you an action plan.
I like to give you something you can try today right away to put this into practice. So think about what it means to be a standout leader. How would you define a standout leader? Someone who is seen as the best, seen as self assured, having it all together, someone that people want to work for? How do you think a standout leader thinks about themselves? How do you think a standout leader thinks about other people? How do you think they problem solve? How do you think they handle rejection? What do you think that they think when they are the only one in the room with a different opinion? And if you need a good example of that, the episode that I did with Jim Massey on Trust and Action, he gave a really great example of how he spoke up amongst other executives and had a really difficult conversation where he was the only one with a different opinion, and he spoke up and stood his ground on what he thought was right. So you can go back and listen to that. But here are some examples of beliefs that stand out leaders may have as part of their self concept, just for you to consider.
Some thoughts they might have about themselves are, I can figure this out. There’s something for me to learn here. This isn’t about me. I trust myself to handle this. If I’m having this idea, it is worth mentioning. My voice matters. I’m excellent at prioritizing. I know what’s important. This is a great opportunity. I bring people together. And you can come up with your own list. So that’s just an example of some thoughts or beliefs that standout leaders may have that they might not even know of that might be so ingrained in their subconscious, they aren’t necessarily actively thinking that. And you know I don’t believe in generic affirmations. So the goal isn’t to come up with this list and then try to force yourself to believe it. It’s to get out of your own head and think about the leader that you want to be so that next time you’re in a meeting, you can check yourself, you can think, am I thinking like a leader right now? And that alone can stop you from spinning out or getting distracted. Just to ask yourself that question, you could put it on a Post it note and just have it with you, or put the reminder on your phone.
Am I being a leader right now? Am I thinking like a leader right now? It can put you back in the driver’s seat instead of being on the sidelines. So give it a try. Now, I want to let you know of a couple of things that are coming up. I have a new training coming up in just a couple of days. It’s on June 9th, and it’s for you if you are someone who wants to be a better leader. Even if you’re already a good leader, this is going to take you to the next level. And if you’re doubting if you’re a good leader, then you definitely want to be there. It’s called five mistakes that good leaders make. I’m going to break down for you the common mistakes that I see leaders make, even the good ones, and then I’m going to share what to do instead so you can get out of your own way, feel more confident as a leader and make a bigger impact. I’m also going to share details about the standout leader incubator. Enrollment is opening on July 6th, and I know a lot of you want to know more about it, what it is, how to join.
So I’m going to share that and answer any questions that you have after the training. There’s even going to be an opportunity to get some exclusive bonuses for those that attend the training. You won’t want to miss it. To sign up, go to www.yourworthycareer.com/training.
The training is June 9th at 12 PM Eastern and it’s on Zoom. It will be recorded and there will be a limited replay available. So if you have a conflict, because I know this is just in a couple of days, no worries. Still sign up so you can get that replay.
And then save the date because if you’re interested in the incubator, it is opening up on July 6th and I can’t wait to invite you into this one-of-a-kind leadership development community that is exclusively for women in biopharma. Have an amazing week.
Hey there. If you want to go from technical SME to the leader everyone wants to work for, you definitely want to be in my leadership development community that is exclusive to women in the pharma-biotech industry. Head to www.yourworthycareer.com/incubator to get all of the details about the standout leader incubator and how you can join us.