My sister expressed her concerns to me about becoming a supervisor/leader for the first time: “I don’t want them to think the role is too big for me. This made me think about my top fears when I got to lead a small team.
Here are the top 4:
Becoming a leader of a team means taking the spotlight. Every action taken, word said, and decision made is scrutinized by those being led.
Like many others out there my biggest fear leading was letting others see my weaknesses. We try to cover our mistakes and flaws so much that we end up stressed and lying to ourselves. I later understood, this is a waste of time.
My first leadership lesson was realizing no matter how hard I try the team can figure out my weaknesses in no time. It was funny to listen to them say “I know” every time I said “I don’t do this well” or “that’s a weakness of mine”. Silly me, thinking I was ahead of the curve.
The curious fact about embracing vulnerability is that once we (leaders) accept it, we start becoming one with the group. Opening myself to being susceptible allowed me to break the boss-subordinate mentality. My biggest achievement was having the team talk to me like I was one of them.
Open communication, trust, and personal connection were the results of embracing vulnerability.
While vulnerabilities point to the individual, mistakes talk about their actions and decisions. No one goes out to the world to make a fool of themselves. Nonetheless, mistakes are a part of life; without them, nothing would be learned.
Thomas Edison is generally attributed the phrase “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”
The key is to accept mistakes quickly, process them, and learn from them. A mistake done once, is growth; the second, foolish.
There have been many situations in which I felt I was going at it alone. At times, I even wondered if I was doing the right thing. In the end, it came to values, passion, and beliefs.
In every single situation I had to ask:
- Am I staying true to by values?
- Am I passionate about it?
- Is it for me or for them?
- Will it benefit everyone around me?
- Is it worth to give it all for the good of the many?
If my answer was yes or them to all, I knew I was doing the right thing. The beginning of the journey may be lonely, but when the cause is right, people will follow.
What if They Don’t Like Me?
You can ask anyone that went to high school with me and you’ll quickly realize my friends were few and my haters were plenty. You can also find similar situations with the people I have worked with.
The main lesson I have gained from these struggles is to focus on those that take the time to understand my perspective. My passions are not going to resonate with everyone; my ways of expression will offend many; but those I connect with, will help me achieve great things.