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Transcending doubt as a leader

"When something does not go right the first time, I start doubting my leadership: maybe I am not ready, may be my preparation is inadequate. I don't know. Other's feedback only makes it worse. I feel paralysed in this situation as I take too much time to take a decision. How can I conquer doubt and move forward?"

~ Senior Leader, FMCG

The seeds of doubt surface from

  • a lack of self confidence

  • (recent) past failures

  • stakeholder perception/feedback

  • self perception of being not ready / Imposter syndrome

If there is an element of truth in the doubt, its ok to make necessary changes. However, over-thinking only feeds the doubt to grow bigger.

Like a good gardener, the duty of the leader is to pay attention, ascertain veracity and weed off doubt as quickly as possible.

What can the leader to do ward-off doubt?

  1. Take stock of where the doubt is causing damage

Sometimes 'doubt' can be a silent killer.

You realise its presence after the damage is already done.

Its so subtle that it just skips your attention.

Martin Seligman coined the PERMA model of well-being.

PERMA Stands for

  • Positive Emotion

  • Engagement

  • Relationships

  • Meaning

  • Accomplishment

Periodically assess where your well-being stands and what comes in the way of that. If 'doubt' is a culprit, pay attention to it and look at possible alternate paths.

2. Halo effect

Halo effect is a cognitive bias which makes us conclude based on one trait/ instance.

If you did not do 'one' thing right, let it not trigger a conclusion on who you are and what capabilities that you bring to the table.

Be holistic in your assesssment.

Learn to let go of your failures.

3. Long tail of wrong perceptions

Sometimes judgements about you may linger longer than they should in your eco-system.

While you can do nothing about the past, you can decide who you like to be in the present.

Recency effect is a cognitive bias where in people remember what you did last more than all the things you did over a period of time.

This could work in your favour if you can focus more on present to future than the past.

Generate victories from the now to the future and let those be achievements to remember.

4. Be wary of 'languishing'

Languishing is a state of stagnation.

Its a state of emptiness appearing as 'no way forward'.

Its absolutely normal to languish for sometime on your doubt, failures, feedback etc.

Have a cut off time that you will choose to revisit the cause of the languish. It will give you an opportunity to get out of it.

What do you do shake doubt off ?

#executivecoaching #leadershipcoaching #doubt #decision #leadership

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