Our leadership story is the most powerful tool leaders have to help them describe the path they chose and what went into formulating their critical career decisions. Our stories showcase the skills and knowledge we gained as we explored and learned from different jobs and experiences. Our leadership story also encompasses the lessons we gleaned from the many bosses and colleagues we worked with and met, each bringing out something unique in us. Our leadership stories keep evolving as we keep growing and redefining ourselves.
At certain points in our leadership journey, we may recognize that our stories aren’t reflecting the leader we are today or the leader we want to become. When we are feeling this way we need to rediscover the leadership story we want to tell.
It Is Time To Redefine Your Leadership Story When:
1. We No Longer Feel Authentic
It’s an uncomfortable feeling when we are not leading with our core values. If we are asked to compromise our non-negotiable beliefs in the way we approach our projects or customers, we can become paralyzed. This has happened to some of my clients and then they are unable to perform their best. Be your authentic self and find your comfort levels with a stretch.
2. We Feel Stuck and Unsatisfied
If our leadership story feels stuck, going nowhere, then it is time to find a new direction. How do you know if you are stuck?
- You feel burned out doing your daily tasks
- You barely can get to work each day
- It seems like everyone around you is energized but you
- You leave work beaten up
3. We Have Evolved Into A Different Type Of Leader
Since our leadership stories are always changing, there may come a point that you realize you are not the leader you use to be. Maybe you haven’t had a chance to put your new skills into action. Or maybe you use to be quieter at meetings and now you have the confidence to speak up. We can’t allow others to “peg” us to act or behave in a certain way when we are no longer that way. Change your leadership story to mirror your new style.
4. We Are Ready For A Growth Spurt
Recently I worked with a manager who shared their fascination in learning how to sell. They were technically a star, but wanted to grow in networking and connecting more with clients. If we are eager to learn new competences and develop new areas of expertise then go for it and redefine your leadership story.
- Ask your boss for new responsibilities and experiences in areas that interest you
- Talk to colleagues in other departments doing the work that you are eager to learn
- Read articles and books about the topic you want to pursue
- Don’t take “no” for an answer
5. We Sense Our Team Doesn’t See Our Worth
Feeling valued and appreciated is what drives leaders to perform at their highest levels and put their best foot forward. Leaders I work with will sometimes want to leave an organization when they are not being recognized or asked for input. To change that part of our leadership story on how our teams or bosses see our value we often need to just ask for feedback. Be specific about a particular project you contributed and then show your appreciation for their acknowledgement by thanking them. Just because our colleagues don’t share their gratitude doesn’t mean we aren’t important. Simply ask for what you need.
How have you redefined your leadership story to empower the leader within you?
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