Three Ways to Overcome Limiting BehaviorsYou know the expression well; it's lonely at the top.

Every leader deals with self-doubt, fear of making the wrong decision, and other potentially limiting behaviors.

The key is "potentially" because some leaders deal with these emotions well, while others don't.

Leadership coach Art Petty shares the realities of leading others and offers steps for moving past the limiting behaviors. One of the most important things to remember is, even though it feels lonely, no leader is alone in dealing with these issues.

How to Overcome Limiting Behaviors

  • It's not easy: Leading, like parenting, is a unique challenge in that you are responsible for others'  livelihoods. Taken seriously, being a leader is no small feat.
  • People are complex: There is a joke that jobs would be easier if it weren't for the customers and the employees. It wouldn't be as fun, of course, but the point is, people are complex. No two are the same and leading people requires nuance.
  • It's a burden: Not only are you responsible for the livelihoods of your employees, but you are more than likely responsible to directors, shareholders, or your own family to deliver results.
  • It's on-the-job training: No leadership school or business degree can fully prepare you for the work ahead of you other than jumping in and learning from experience.
  • Failure should be accepted: Some of the best leaders I know aren't afraid to fail. The quicker you do so, the quicker you learn and move on. Your career will be one long episode of trial and error.

So, what do to?

Balance the Negative and Make it Constructive

  • Don't be afraid of fear: Look it in the face. Often, you'll find you had nothing to be worried about. Petty cites one example. Many leaders fear giving constructive feedback because they hate confrontation. In fact, you're team is more than likely very open to receiving feedback that helps them improve.
  • You don't have to be perfect: You also don't have to be the smartest person in the room. Knowing how to lead means you can turn to the people with the expertise, get counsel from your team, and make the right decisions from there.
  • Your team is rooting for you: Know that your team wants to work with someone they enjoy. Be caring, empathic, and a good listener. Involve your team and help them do their best work.

No one said leading was going to be easy. Many entrepreneurs are born from a passion for the business, and weren't prepared for the bigger tasks at hand; leading a team.

Photo by OzinOH.