Beliefs are those things that you’ve decide are true for you. And they can be positive (eg, I’m great at spreadsheets), or they can be negative (I’m useless at presentations).
Normally, when we believe we can do something (let’s take as an example, “I’m very organised”), we notice the things that prove to us that that belief is true and we tend to ignore, or reduce the significance of, the things that may prove otherwise. You re-enforce the belief and put yourself in more situations to continue to prove that. The more times you see it, the more powerful the belief. And believe me, that’s great and very important if you have a strong belief that you are and will always be successful, healthy, good at your job etc.
But the same goes with negative beliefs, where we have a tendency to concentrate on the things that prove they’re true and we can hear ourselves saying “see, I told you so, I am useless at such and such”.
Have you ever considered how your beliefs could be affecting your leadership style? Do you belief you can manage well? Do you worry that you’re not very good in a certain aspect required of you as a manager? Do you believe you’re useless at dealing with difficult people, so avoid confrontation? Do you believe that you’re more knowledgeable than your peers on certain subjects?
Why not try and answer some of the following questions to start to get an understanding of your current view:
Difficult or Demanding: What are the most challenging parts of the work that you do? Are these things intrinsically difficult? Do you need to develop more skills?
Interesting/Important: What part of the job do you particularly like and find enjoyable? Is this because the work’s easy, or because you have particular talents in these areas? Do you feel you have the necessary skills and resources to do the job well?
Frequent/Time-Consuming: What do they spend most of your time doing? Are you holding back from other tasks for lack of confidence or ability?
Strengths: What do you feel you do well? How do you feel that these strengths contribute to the team’s result?
Weaknesses: Where do you feel you need to develop? What are you doing to address this, or what can be done to address this?
Opportunities: How do you want to develop in the future?
Threats: What parts of the job do you dislike? Why do you dislike these things? What do you believe about these parts of the job?
In addition to the beliefs you have about yourself, what beliefs do you have about your team members’ abilities, skills and needs? What do you believe about them as individuals, what they’re capable of, what style they have that you don’t understand or believe is correct? This will affect the way you treat them in your day to day leadership.
Although successful leaders are always observing the way their team members work, only by talking can you understand what they want and how they, as individuals, see the world around them.
An informal chat with individual team members unfortunately does little more than build trust (although obviously not a bad thing!) – team members will quite naturally want to present a positive impression to you, and you will rarely do more than scratch the surface of any issues that need to be addressed. So why not ask them the questions above, as you have yourself, and start developing a rounded team that understands their beliefs and can build their confidence.
Please get in touch if you’d like to develop your self-awareness and find out more about how executive coaching can help you understand your beliefs, change those you need to, and build your confidence as a leader.