Be the Leader You Are Waiting For

Sep 16 / Aleta Maxwell
Collaboration and teamwork are amazing skills but sometimes we fall into the mindset that we are only team players and there is a lack of leaders when problems arise or challenges come along as they always do at any workplace. Many people see the issues, but few think they can be part of the solution

For example, I have a client who was struggling with her organization. She saw faults in the communication or rather, lack thereof. The team that she worked with felt lost, without any clear vision to follow. Because of this lack of proper communication, there was a lack of trust for their supervisors. The team was in complete disarray.

Then enter COVID-19 and without a solid foundation of trust and communication in place, the team struggled to be able to come up with an action plan for the future. When coaching my client, she explained her list of grievances as well as a comprehensive list of solutions to her complaints. When I asked what was stopping her from implementing them or at least bringing them to the leaders to get the go-ahead to implement, her answer was one I hear repeatedly… “that wasn’t her role”. She wasn’t the Executive Director. 

I helped her to realize that she didn’t see herself as a leader, but rather, she limited herself to role player within her team. After some coaching, she started seeing herself differently and gained the confidence to speak up. She was able to help move her team forward and solidify herself within the organization as a valuable member of the leadership team. 

Here’s why I think you should consider stepping out of your comfort zone and speak up: 

  • It moves the paradigm of the team from frustration and stagnation to motivation and progress

  • When done the correct way, you will motivate others on your team to step into their own leadership as well! This is a great use of proper coaching. Good leaders empower those around them. Through coaching, you can utilize tools to not only find solutions but empower your colleagues as well. Goodbye fears of rejection! 

  • Speaking up might lead to opportunities you aren’t even aware of. Showing your proactive problem-solving skills will speak volumes to those above you and many times will lead to more opportunities to lead.

  • No matter what, it will start the conversation and the process of finding solutions. And in the end, if your solution isn’t the winner (this time), lessons can always be learned for the future.  

Are you ready to lead no matter your title? 
If not, we definitely need to chat. I can help you find the confidence and tools necessary to step up and out of your comfort zone. 

If your answer is yes, I’m thrilled! Here’s how to start the process of engaging as the leader you are. 

  • Write it down! Make a list of solutions to go with your list of grievances. Give them solid thought and try to see any holes or gaps in your plans. While your team will ultimately help strengthen any plan to move forward, you want to ensure that you put in the effort to see the downsides or other perspectives before proposing them 

  • Analyze the list and see what is in your control to tackle. Oftentimes we don’t realize that we have a lot more control or influence than we give ourselves credit for. Are there steps you can take that are totally within your realm that you do not need any permission to implement? Sometimes, we need to think about how we could make small changes that might have a big effect on the team or project

  • Monitor your imposter syndrome. We all have this criticizing part of us that makes itself heard when we are about to tackle something new. Whether it’s leading a group meeting or jumping into a new role, this part will tell us that we aren’t ready, that we don’t deserve to be here, and that the group will see right through us. While this part of ourselves is often irritating, its true intention is to keep us safe. Honor it. Sit with it and sort through what it is trying to say to you, then let it know you got this! You deserve to be here, your voice is important, and by stretching yourself you may end up positively impacting many people in ways you do not foresee. At the end of the day, we all have this part that speaks up at times. Knowing that you aren’t alone in this fear, but pushing ahead anyway, is where true growth will come

  • Convert naysayers. In most groups, there is at least one person that is great at seeing how a plan can go wrong. If you know the enneagram, these are our wonderful 6’s!  I typically go to these individuals first and ask them to help me brainstorm. Two things come from this plan of attack. First, I get constructive feedback that often leads to a much better and robust idea than I previously came to on my own. Allowing someone to poke holes in my plans allows me to bolster any idea and ensure that more bases are covered. Secondly, these are the people that typically become my advocates! Since they’ve already been able to share their concerns and have them either addressed or talked through, they are now ready to cheerlead my idea as they are now part of the solution.  

  • Speak up! Taking your list of thoughtful solutions to your supervisor to talk through may result in some actual progress. Coming from a space of wanting to help and seeking to assist, rather than attacking and shaming can lead to some great collaboration. 

Too many times we wait for others to solve work issues that affect us and frustrate our team.

When we start seeing ourselves as parts of the solution rather than simply worker bees destined to follow whoever is in charge, we can not only help to solve these complex issues but set ourselves up to be the leader that others are wanting to follow. 

Having a coach to help process through this for your specific circumstance is greatly beneficial!

Take advantage of the powerful tool of coaching to reach your maximum potential and the goals you have (or will!) set for yourself. Schedule a free coaching session HERE.

Feel free to reach me at aleta@upliftlead.com or read more about what I do here.

About Aleta

Aleta Maxwell is a certified executive coach, author, leadership development content creator, as well as CEO & Founder of Uplifting Leadership.

Aleta has held multiple senior-level leadership roles over the past 25 years in the hospitality industry and non-profit companies.

While partnering with leaders at all levels of management, Aleta utilizes techniques like curiosity, compassion, and courage to help clients become more aligned with their purpose and values. Using these techniques, Aleta collaborates with her clients to uplift their specific leadership skill set and hone the tools needed to develop brand ambassadors in their employees.