Tag Archives: Lead from Within

7 Things You Need to Know To Improve Your Leadership Style

Posted on 07. Feb, 2017 by .

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Many of us aspire to great leadership. But how do we recognize what great leadership even looks like? What are the attributes that make leaders great?

Here’s one of the most important: Highly effective leaders don’t rely on what they know but constantly work to improve who they are and what they do. Success usually lies between who you are and who you want to be, what you want to do and where you want to go.

Here are seven other attributes that great leaders tend to share. Think about which you should be incorporating into your own leadership—and remember that when success is within your reach, you still have to stretch to get to it.

1. They know how to forecast. You’d think that most leaders would spend their time thinking of what needs to get done today, but truly great leaders are visionaries who spend significant time forecasting the future. Truly great leaders look ahead. They see things not through the lens of current realities but in light of future possibilities. They know that present circumstances don’t determine how far they can go, only where they need to start.

2. They know how to formulate. Effective leaders can take a vision and formulate it into a well-organized plan that others can manage and follow. They know where they want to take others, and the plan articulates how they’ll get there. The best leaders keep in mind the importance of translating their vision into a reality.

3. They know how to present. Successful leaders are able to communicate and demonstrate a plan for action. They know how to get the right people in the right roles to get the job done well. They’re great at communicating complex problems in simple terms that people can understand. They’re able to share information in a way that people get it. For truly great leaders, communication must be HOT: Honest, Open and Two-way.

4. They know how to trust. Even the most talented, skilled leaders know that they cannot accomplish everything on their own, and they know how to trust others to get the job done. Confidence in your people is crucial; it allows you to focus on the things that only you can do, without feeling the need to micromanage others. Truly great leaders know this and because they trust their people, their people in turn trust them.

5. They know how to manage. A successful leader is someone who can not only lead but also manage. They know how to manage themselves before managing When they set goals for others—when they decide what work needs to be done and how to facilitate those goals so they get done—they are setting an example of effective management themselves by focusing on others to get things done.

6. They know how to expedite: Truly great leaders know how to facilitate and promote and stimulate their people by making what needs to happen a priority. They’re good at following through on plans and making sure everyone knows their role, serving as a catalyst and allowing their team to work together to get things done.

7. They know how to motivate. The best leaders are able to inspire and motivate people into taking action. They have the charisma and the character that inspire others to follow them. They’re able to lead by example, because they refuse to ask others to do what they can do for themselves. In setting a strong example, they motivate their people to do the same.

Lead from Within: The best leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.

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The Sobering Realities Every Leader Must Face

Posted on 31. Jan, 2017 by .

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Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 7.59.46 AMIn leadership, as in all things, there are tough realities we all have to face.

We can wish it were otherwise, and we can work to make it otherwise to the extent we are able, but whatever the situation, you’re never well served by ignoring what exists now.

There are times when leadership feels like a problem to be solved and other times when it feels like a reality to be experienced.

Here are some sobering realities you’re likely to face at some point in your leadership:

You don’t always get the credit you deserve (or think you deserve). if you think leadership is about gaining recognition and glory for what you accomplish, think again. It’s far more often about giving credit to others and acknowledging their contributions. You may feel you deserve more, but that’s not how it works—and the faster you can face that reality, the less disappointed you will feel. It’s the leader who can lead just as passionately toward a noble cause or a compelling vision while getting little credit (but more than their share of criticism) who’s on track for success.

Leadership can be really lonely. To be a leader comes with great responsibility. Many people look up to you to always know the answers and provide direction. But who can you turn to when you need inspiration or motivation? The reality is that leadership is often a lonely and isolated experience. The antidote is to create for yourself a inner core group that supports you and is there for you.

The pressure is continuous, and it’s exhausting. A leader has to be on top of their game 24/7. You can hardly let your guard down, because people are counting on you and there is always a lot to get done. Sometimes the sheer pressure of leadership can be utterly exhausting. If you don’t want to burn out, learn to find a balance between your leadership and your private life— and be sure to make the things that are important to you a priority.

Your mindset affects not only you but also those around you. Keeping a positive outlook is not an option but a necessity. As a leader, you must keep a mindset that’s optimistic and positive, because people are relying on you. If your attitude is off, it will affect everyone around you. Do everything you can to maintain a positive outlook, because negativity causes unnecessary disruption and turmoil among those you lead.

Authenticity is strength. If you’re reluctant to embrace authenticity, you may have subscribed to the idea that it’s a point of vulnerability and therefore not a smart move. It’s certainly true that your authenticity will make you vulnerable, but here’s the surprising truth: that vulnerability can be the best thing you have going for your leadership. It helps you stand out of the crowd and shine as who you really are—not who others want you to be. Even in an environment where authenticity isn’t valued, the best leaders know that being real is a strength.

Sobering realities are a part of everyone’s learning, in leadership as in any other field. And at some point in the tenure of your leadership, you realize that it’s not the hard realities but what you do about them that truly matters.

Lead from within: Never try to escape your realities. Take them on and make them everything you want them to be. Because a bad leader can destroy good people.

 

 

 

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How to Be a Real Leader And Great Manager

Posted on 24. Jan, 2017 by .

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Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 12.22.00 AMFrom time to time through the years, I’ve written on the difference between leadership and management.

I am revisiting the subject now because it’s not enough to understand that leadership and management are two different things.

I believe that the two are complementary; to be truly effective, you need both.

Of course we do have defined tasks as leaders, and managers have a specific role to play too. But that doesn’t mean that the two functions are easily separated.

People look to managers not just to assign them a task but also to define a purpose for them—something that’s usually a role of leadership.

And managers organize workers not just to maximize efficiency but to nurture skills, develop talent and inspire results, again showing overlap with leadership.

Here are seven ways that management and leadership roles can complement each other:

1.    Leaders focus on motivating people while managers focus on tasks, systems and structures to provide inspiration. The success of leaders is measured by the relationships they develop and how they can engage and bond with people. The success of managers, on the other hand, is measured by how well they deal with daily tasks of running the business—budget control, customer service, deadlines, procedures processes. A balance of both is vital to motivating and inspiring people.

2.    Leaders seek to challenge while managers try to maintain the status quo. Leaders achieve success by consistently and continually challenging so they scale up, move the needle and place themselves ahead of their time. Managers work to keep things the same so they can have the space to grow and take chances. Some may view management as a controlling function, but the managers allow for new things to happen even as they maintain order. Different techniques but similar goals.

3.    Leaders seek to innovate while managers look to copy. Leaders work in the spheres of innovation and creativity—thinking outside the box, trying new things, taking risks. Managers make sure that the team can consistently repeat what they’ve done well. To maintain overall success, you need to copy with some as a backup when innovation and creativity may fail you.

4.    Leaders take a long-range perspective while managers take a short-term view. Leaders are oriented to think of the future and assess their plans, visions and goals in terms of where they want to take others. Managers ensure completion of the day-to-day tasks that allow organizations to reach the long-range goals. You can’t aim at the horizon if the stuff at your feet is out of control.

5.    Leaders use emotional intelligence while managers are more concerned with intellect. Leaders understand the value of emotional intelligence and self-awareness. They develop skills in empathy, motivation and self-control. Managers are more concerned with analytical thinking and technical skills. Of course, teams and organizations need both perspectives to thrive.

6.    Leaders explore opportunities while managers avoid risk. Leaders know how to seize an opportunity. They’re instinctively able to assess target markets, resources required and the level of risk, and they understand that even if they fail and they face hard times, each experience provides great opportunities. Managers tend to avoid risk. They’re much more concerned with making sure their objectives are met and risk is avoided, but they understand the importance of taking measured risks to scale and innovate.

7.    Leaders inspire trust while the managers rely on control. Leaders are all about earning trust, building trust and becoming trustworthy, if you are to follow someone into an unknown compelling future, you need to be able to trust and believe in them. Managers are focused on cultivating and maintaining control, making sure everything runs smoothly and according to plan and that nothing deviates off course. Managers believe that by relying on control they can organize people—not just to maximize efficiency, but to nurture skills, develop talent and get results.

As always, there’s a clear difference between real leaders and great managers. But with today’s new methods of business development and the ever-changing climate of our economy, there’s more room than ever for the roles of managers and leaders to complement each other, with a shared goal of respecting, appreciating, and validating those who work hard and bring their best to what they do.

Lead From Within: As leaders and managers, we have to understand that the differences in the two roles allow for the emergence of skills that will make each more successful.

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21 Things New Leaders Should Do

Posted on 17. Jan, 2017 by .

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It’s easy to find lists of all the things that leaders shouldn’t do. Here are the positive steps you can take to build successful leadership.

Especially at the beginning of a leadership journey, it’s easy to focus on all the things you’re not supposed to do—don’t be inaccessible, don’t play favorites, don’t build your authority on fear. And those things are important, but if you focus exclusively on the don’ts you may have a hard time moving forward.

Here are 21 positive steps that will help you become the kind of the leader you can take great pride in, the kind people will honor with their followership.

1. Keep tabs on expectations. As a new leader you shouldn’t take for granted your new title or your role for granted. Just because you are the leader doesn’t mean you have to have it all figured out.

2. Grow your competencies and develop your skills. As a new leader studying every day is important, if you are doing just enough to get by, the day will come that it’s no longer good enough.

3. Listen to learn. Odds are that many—if not all—of the people on your team know more about various aspects of the business than you do. As a new leader respect the expertise of others.

4. Humility goes a long way. As a new leader humility is a skill that must acquired and practiced over and over again.

5. Be the missing link. As a new leader recognize that although your team may be very capable, you were placed in that job for a reason. You bring a perspective that the team may lack. Know what it is, and make sure they know what it is too.

6. Speak well of everyone. As a new leader, don’t badmouth upper management to your team or your team to upper management. It won’t score points with either side.

7. Protect and shield. As a new leader guard your people from unnecessary hassles from upstairs or outside, and from any unnecessary drama.

8. Ground yourself in trust. As a new leader make sure your people know that trust—giving it, earning it and building it together—is a top priority for the team.

9. Gain a sixth sense. As a new leader tune into your perceptions enough to be able to walk into a room and sense the morale of the occupants.

10. Know what is and isn’t important. As a new leader ignore trivial infractions and let them go unless they are linked to something bigger. Never ignore major violations.

11. Be the meditator, the coach, the mentor: As a new leader act promptly to squelch dissension, disputes, discord and disagreements.

12. Speak with candor. As a new leader avoid sarcasm, dishonesty, or gossip. Don’t let anything you say in the moment interfere with your reputation as someone who’s unfailingly candid, honest, and kind.

13. Strive to build a workplace in which respect is the centerpiece. As a new leader it requires that you and everyone on your team focus on both giving respect and earning it.

14. Make character matter. As a new leader make integrity and character the foundation of your leadership. Remember that you’re always leading by example.

15. Measure your actions. As a new leader evaluate everything you do to determine whether you’re having the effect you want to. If you don’t already know, learn how to use data to better understand your wins and misses.

16. Know what is urgent and what is not. As a new leader give a sense of urgency to tasks that are truly important. If you don’t convey it, how will they know?

17. Be willing to admit you don’t know. As a new leader just because you are the leader doesn’t mean you have all the answers. When you don’t know, say so—then make it a point to inquire, study and learn.

18. Treat everyone with courtesy. As a new leader treat people as you want to be treated.

19. Stay focused on mission. As a new leader keep your mission at the front of everything you do, no matter what distractions and outside influences enter the picture.

20. Have a low tolerance level for intolerance. As a new leader don’t EVER put up with bigots, bullies, bastards, weasels, snakes, swine, slimeballs or sleaze balls.

21. Lead by example. As a new leader this is where your leadership will ultimately be measured. So lead by example always.

Lead From Within: Before you are a leader success is all about growing yourself, when you become a leader success is all about growing others.

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5 Leadership Habits That Make You Look Unprofessional

Posted on 10. Jan, 2017 by .

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Have you ever seen a colleague, a boss, or a leader display unprofessional behavior and wonder how they maintain their position?

It might make you wonder whether anything you do comes across that way.

No matter how much education and self-awareness you may have, it’s possible that your professionalism is being undermined by unconscious behavior.

If you’re not doing as well as you’d like, if your career hasn’t scaled to the heights you’ve always expected of yourself, it may be that unprofessional habits—even subtle ones—are limiting your success.

Pay close attention to your own behavior and analyze it as you would someone else’s.

Here are five of the most common unprofessional habits that damage promising careers:

1. Wandering eyes. It’s one of those little cues that can happen to the best of us without our even noticing. When someone is speaking to you and going on a bit long, or when you disagree with someone you subtly avert your eyes, looking across the room, maybe glancing at a clock or watch or paying attention to something else going on in the background. Letting your eyes wander sends a unspoken message that your mind is wandering as well and clearly signals your disengagement, no matter what you say. Stay focused on the person who’s speaking to show you’re paying attention.

2. Always being the expert. We all know someone who considers themselves an expert on every subject—even though it’s often clear to everyone that they don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s a great way to make sure your ideas are never taken seriously and you’re dismissed as someone who likes the sound of their own voice. It’s damaging in another way as well: if you’re always speaking, you’re never learning. Listen to what others have to say and acknowledge when you’re outside your range of knowledge.

3. Talking down to others. There is no quicker way to earn mistrust and ill will than talking down to someone. In trying to elevate yourself, you instead create a huge divide between you and the person you’re talking with (and everybody else within range). Making others feel small goes beyond being unprofessional, it’s rude and morally questionable. Especially when you’re explaining a new concept to someone, take great care to keep your tone and word choice respectful and even.

4. Always being late. Life is busy and time is fleeting. Few of us can honestly say we’ve never been late. But being known as someone who’s habitually late tells others that you respect only your own time, and not the time of others. Being on time, is a courtesy you give to others, and it says,  I respect you.  Being late is not a bad habit, it’s a choice one makes. if you are chronically late, you are chronically rude.

5. Using ”&*#$@!” language: While this should be common sense, its surprising  how many professionals also believe that the use of profanities is acceptable in a professional setting.  the tongue has no bones, but is strong enough to break a heart, so we always must be careful of our words. Regardless of what line of work you do, who your colleagues are, it is never a good habit to use language that is inappropriate, and that is true in professional or personal life. sometimes the sheer use of a exploit language will take away from the essence of what you want to say. Speak with conviction then deliver what you have to say with passion, this has the same effect.

Lead From Within: As leaders it’s important to remember that your behavior is the mirror in which you either come across as professional or unprofessional.

 

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The Best Leaders Are Great Coaches

Posted on 03. Jan, 2017 by .

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screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-6-54-24-amGreat leadership is made up of numerous different elements and roles, which come together differently in different leadership styles. One role that’s often overlooked is that of serving as a coach.

If you’ve ever played or trained under a great coach, you already understand how vast their influence can be.

The best leaders, like the best coaches, give those around them permission to succeed and know how to help them reach their potential.

Here are some of the most important coaching ideas shared by great leaders—ideas that can benefit anyone’s leadership in any field:

Communicate with wisdom. As a coach and leader, you need exceptional communication skills. Your words should make people sit up, listen and feel inspired to act.

Challenge the unchallenged. It’s important to know how to challenge others without making them feel criticized or scorned.

Raise the bar. Set and maintain high personal standards. Keep raising the bar so others can follow suit.

Invest in teamwork. Teach those around you to value great collaboration even more than individual achievement. Demonstrate the truth of TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More

Encourage boldness. Encourage others to make mistakes and take bold moves. Nothing great was ever achieved by not being courageous.

Embrace diversity. Understand and take to heart the value of diversity and take advantage of every opportunity to demonstrate and attest to its importance.

View people in terms of their potential. Recognize the unrealized potential in those around you. Even more important, help them see it for themselves.

Be available. Whatever your position, build a reputation as someone who’s approachable and quick to help.

Accumulate resources. Develop an extensive network both within and outside your organization. Make it available as a resource for others, not just yourself.

Provide solutions. Learn to seek out and develop win-win solutions and teach those skills to others.

Be an optimist. Cultivate an optimistic outlook that guides you to focus on the possibilities and connections that others might miss.

Create a compelling vision. Have a well-developed personal vision that you can communicate clearly and with inspiration. Present your vision in a way that encourages others to do the same.

Coaches are great leaders because they know how to unlock potential and motivate people to maximize their performance. In short, they help others learn to be their best. And that’s what leadership is all about.

Lead from within: Great leadership isn’t about what you accomplish yourself; it’s about what you inspire others to do.

For coaching, consulting, workshops, and speaking. Please feel free to contact us.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

 

 

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How to Build a Business That’s Good for Everyone

Posted on 20. Dec, 2016 by .

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screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-7-38-14-amWith so many businesses barely getting by, everyone wants to know the secret to make their business good for everyone, and how they can build a company that can thrive.

At the core of every business success it’s important to make sure that your employees are engaged and your customers are satisfied.

As a leadership coach and business consultant, I’ve seen lots of companies make it and lots of companies struggle. And from my experience, the ones that truly thrive share some key principles.

Here are the most important:

Make it personal. There’s a misconception that business and the personal should never mix—but the most successful companies create a personal culture, one where both employees and customers know they matter. That means getting to know them and creating mutually beneficial relationships with meaningful connection and engagement.

Good communication connects everyone. If you want an organizational culture where people are working hard to achieve the same goals, communication is key—team to team, team to board, customers to leadership—in every direction and at every level.

Surround yourself with A+ players. Steve Jobs always used to say to surround yourself with A+ players, because the best players always surround themselves with better players than themselves. The same is true for companies. Make sure your organization has highly talented people and treat them well so they will remain loyal and dedicated to the purpose and mission. When you surround yourself with the best you thrive on excellence.

Under promise- over deliver. Whatever you do, whatever product or service you are providing, make it the best out there. Do it better than anyone else to a ridiculous degree. Build and maintain the best relationship with those you serve. Deliver more than you promise to keep them with you.

Grow your team. Once you have a team of excellent people in place, the smart thing is to keep them there. The best companies make sure they have training and development programs that help people grow and move forward in their career path, because that’s how you retain a great team.

Make your company a great place to work. Work is where people spend most of their time, so make your company a place where people feel motivated and inspired and they can have fun. Create an environment where people enjoy coming to work. A culture build on fun and excitement gives people the energy to outperform their own potential.

Make a difference. If the aim of your company is to make money, that’s great, but it won’t speak to the hearts and souls of your people. It doesn’t give people anything to be inspired by. But if your business improves the lives of others—if you’re providing solutions that make selling and service the same thing—your team and your customers will be far more engaged. The results? A stable, energized team, loyal customers, and great grassroots advertising through word of mouth and social media.

To create a business that thrives you have to make it a company that is good for everyone.

Lead From Within: Bottom line: When people are happy- when customers are satisfied companies succeed.

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7 Habits That Are Destroying Your Ability to Lead

Posted on 13. Dec, 2016 by .

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screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-7-38-51-amWhether you are a manager, supervisor, entrepreneur or leader, it is your leadership abilities that will ultimately dictate your professional success or failure.

That means you need to identify which habits are working for you and which aren’t, and eliminate anything that may be keeping you from your goals.

Here are seven of the most destructive habits leaders can maintain:

1. Surrounding yourself with clones.  Strength lies in diversity and difference and challenge; being around people who are just like you may be comfortable, but it keeps you playing small.

2. Speaking without listening.  The best leaders listen more than they speak, and they know the importance of hearing and gathering information from all.

3.  Confusing activity with productivity. It’s easy to fall into the trap of keeping busy without actually being productive. There is always so much to do, but the tasks you naturally reach for are not necessarily the ones that should be at the top of your list of priorities. Instead of plowing through a to-do list, ask yourself what you should be doing to attain the results you want to see—to move you closer to your goals.

4. Flying solo. One of the biggest challenges for many people, especially leaders, is the belief in the power of one—the idea that you can do everything by yourself. Trying to do everything alone will end up exhausting and taxing you, and in time it will destroy your ability to lead.

5. Thinking you know it all. As a leader you need to always be willing to listen to others and be teachable. Sometimes people don’t want to have the answers handed to them but to brainstorm together and come up with a range of solutions. Other times people just want to vent.

6: Being unavailable and inaccessible. Being an unavailable and inaccessible leader, is the worst kind of leadership and management style, because it sends the message that your people are not important.

7. Constantly micromanaging. Saving the worst for last: Micromanagement is the flip side of leadership. The leader thinks no one can do the job as well as they can so they hover over you and make demands instead of allowing you to do your job. The message sent by micromanager leaders is “I don’t trust you.”

Lead From Within: Bad habits are destroying our leadership because they are hindering us from being the leader we want to be.

 

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The Best Leaders Are Humble Leaders

Posted on 06. Dec, 2016 by .

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screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-7-28-00-amWhen we think of great qualities of leaders, the first things that come to mind are traits like charisma, bravado and vision.

You wouldn’t expect to see humility on that list—but you should.

Research shows the effectiveness of humble leadership: Humble leaders have more influence, they attract better people, and they earn more confidence, respect and loyalty than those who rely upon ego and power.

In my work as a coach, I emphasize not just the importance of humility but also the fact that it’s a skill.

Here are some key skills of humble leaders. Look through and see which you already have and which you need to develop:

They lead to serve. Humble leaders shift attention away from themselves and focus on the contributions and needs of those around them.

They have reserves of inner strength. Being a humble leader isn’t a sign of meekness or powerlessness but of great inner strength. The best leaders are humble on the outside and confident on the inside.

They admit to their mistakes. All leaders are human, which means they all make mistakes from time to time. When you are willing to share your own missteps and mistakes, it allows others to connect to you in a deeper way. Humility is a quality that lets others see your humanity.

They seek input from others. The first step of turning to others for input is being vulnerable enough to admit that you need the help and insight of others—which is a sign of great character on its own.

They know themselves. Humble leaders know who they are and behave in a way that’s consistent with that knowledge. They also recognize where there’s room for improvement.

They are genuine. Humble leaders know the importance of being authentic. They are the same person in private, in public, and in personal life, in every situation and with every kind of people.

They invite trust. Humble leaders know that trust—earning it, giving it and building it—is the foundation of great leadership.

They treat others with respect. Humble leaders are consistent and disciplined in their treatment of others. They treat everyone with respect regardless of their position, role or title.

They understand their limitations. Humble leaders have the confidence to recognize their own weaknesses. Rather than viewing their limits as a threat or a sign of frailty, they surround themselves with others who have complementary skills.

They model the way. Humble leaders lead by example. Their leadership isn’t expressed as “because I’m the boss” authority but in every one of their actions and words.

Lead From Within: There is always room to be a better person and leader. If you can cultivate humility as a skill, you will be strong when you are weak and brave when you are scared.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

 

 

 

 

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What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

Posted on 29. Nov, 2016 by .

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screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-6-10-01-amSome people are fine skating through uncertainty by the seat of their pants, but most of us in leadership prefer to feel in control.

We like having all the answers (or most of them, anyway), and seeing a clear path ahead. And in time, people come to expect those things of us, and we come to expect them of ourselves.

So for a leader to admit they don’t know is a big deal.

For some it feels like an uncomfortable vulnerability; for others, worry. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are some things you can do when you just don’t know:

Trust your intuition. Whether you call it intuition, your sixth sense or following our gut, sometimes when intellect fails you it’s time to rely on your subconscious. It’s a realm where you don’t need to explain or justify your actions or feelings. Just trust your inner guidance to know what’s best.

Make a bold move. In uncertain times we all feel tentative, but if you don’t take bold moves your leadership can’t move forward. Boldness inspires creativity, innovation, vision—exactly the things you need at such times. Let go of fear and remember that most people aren’t hoping to catch you in trouble but want to see you succeed. Whatever you send out always comes back to you, so let your actions set the direction of your leadership.

Let worry go. Worry won’t stop the bad stuff from happening; it just stops you from enjoying the good. The best thing you can do is let worry go and allow yourself to learn in the moment from the experience. Do the best you can do with what you have—beyond that, it’s outside your control.

Hire a coach. A great coach can ask the questions that can lead you to genuinely helpful answers, tell you the things you don’t want to hear and help you transcend your own point of view. The best coaches lead you past what you don’t know into possibility, and help you become the leader you’ve always known you can be.

Remember, feeling worried accomplishes nothing it only prevents you from moving forward, and stagnation is not an option for a leader.

Whatever the situation, do everything you can to keep yourself moving forward, either alone or with the help of a trusted advisor.

Make use of the wisdom you have within, and solicit as much knowledge as you can from those you trust.

Lead from within:  What you don’t know today will be something you can learn from tomorrow.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

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