Real Talk: Sometimes the Problem is You
And What to Do About It
“You don’t inspire others by being perfect, but by how you deal with those imperfections.” –Unknown
I’m not a perfect person (chances are, neither are you), but I do strive to keep learning and growing. That’s the most important thing you can do in life and as a leader. If you can identify your opportunities for growth and put the work into improving yourself, then you’re going to end up with a team that follows you. Are you ready for some real talk? Here’s how to do it:
Check Yourself. If you catch yourself saying or thinking things like “All my exes are crazy,” “All my bosses are assholes,” or “All my employees are idiots,” chances are – you’re part of the problem. You were likely involved in the process of choosing your partner, your boss, and your employees, so you had an opportunity to figure out the fit. This is especially true if you are the employer, because you’re also usually the hiring manager. All these relationships are reciprocal, so start by identifying the role you play in them.
Commit to Change. If you’re sincere about change – and you REALLY have to want it if you’re going to make a change – you not only have to identify and admit to the problem, but commit to fixing it as well. If you’re wishy-washy, or don’t care about changing, it won’t work. Habits are hard to break, and if you are going to break them, you need rock-solid willpower.
Ask for Feedback. If you’re sincere about changing but aren’t sure where to start, ask. You won’t have a problem getting the feedback you need from your peers and bosses. Trust me, people are always more than happy to tell you how you can make their lives better. So, tamp down that ego and ask away.
Change Your Perception. The only thing we can truly control in life is our own perception. If things aren’t working out the way you’d hoped, your own mind is often the best place to start. Perhaps you think your performance is more important than anything else, but you’ve gotten feedback that you’re not taken seriously because of the way you dress. What if you tried letting go of your old thoughts and opened your mind to this new one? You might be surprised by how you feel after trading in the tee-shirt and sweatpants for a pair of jeans and a blazer.
Change Their Perception. Once you find out what people’s friction points with you are, it is possible to change them, but you might have to swing the pendulum all the way to the other side. When you break people’s trust or disappoint them, it’s necessary to overcompensate for a while if you want to win them back over. If you are late a lot, being on time isn’t enough: show them you care by arriving early. If you have under-delivered, start going above and beyond. Do a little more for a while. It never hurts to be considerate.
There you go some Real Talk. Let me know if you have ever had to face this problem before in the comments below. How did you handle it? For more tips on self improvement check out Consistency is King.