Our belief system is a key to the lives we create. For example, if you believe you will never achieve financial success or meet the man or woman of your dreams; that is most likely what will happen. If you are an executive, your belief system is likely to have an impact on your leadership style – whether you are aware of it or not.
It’s common to have our family, influential mentors or early work experiences shape our beliefs. Yet, as we mature, gain wisdom and more experiences, we should consider whether these beliefs are serving our goals or getting in the way of happiness and success, both personally and professionally.
The good thing is, beliefs are not set in stone and we can choose to keep them or change them.
How your belief system can affect your leadership
When it comes to leadership development, Executive Coaching is an ideal situation to bring your beliefs out for inspection and see how they affect your leadership. Here’s an example.
Bob is a doctor who runs a wellness clinic. In a coaching session, he acknowledged how much energy it takes to include staff members in the decision-making process necessary to run the clinic. He would usually make decisions alone for his organization, yet realized he would have a better chance of gaining employee buy-in if he was more inclusive.
Through coaching, we uncovered that his early family life and school experiences had made him believe that he had to find answers himself and that others would not help him reach his goals. Because of this, he thought he would function best by working independently. His inclination then was to just make decisions by himself and tell the staff to execute.
Recognizing how these beliefs influenced his leadership style and team’s morale has been very helpful for Bob. He has begun to experiment with initiating collaborative conversations to build group consensus in the creation of policy and structure. Although this has not been easy for him, Bob has been pleased to see it has helped him build a more supportive team.
What would happen if you changed your beliefs?
Look at your own beliefs. This calls for complete honesty, so maybe discuss with a close friend or professional coach who can provide objectivity.
Consider how your leadership style is a reflection of your existing beliefs:
- Are there beliefs that might be causing any challenges?
- How would the way you lead change, if those beliefs were to shift?
- What would be the bigger impact of that, for you and those around you?
Here’s an example to get you started:
- As the leader, I need to the be the smartest person on the team.
- I need to do most of the work by myself to ensure it is done well and right, so I avoid delegating.
- I do not ask questions when I don’t understand as I don’t want to reveal what I don’t know.
- I always hire folks that are smarter and have skills I don’t possess to build a stronger team.
- Delegating is an important part of how I work, it gives me time to be more strategic and gives others an opportunity to develop.
- I am curious and ask many questions.
Now, it is your turn. Which of your current beliefs could use a shift to improve your leadership impact?