My story with leadership
I always wanted to be a manager, or at least that’s what I thought I wanted to be. I’m a nurturer and naturally helpful, and that in combination with being ambitious and wanting to be in business led to the conclusion that management was my path.
If you had asked me where I saw myself in 3-5 years I would have said I wanted to manage my own team; I always felt that I’m good at inspiring people, helping them bring out the best in themselves, encouraging them to improve and thrive.
I’ve had the role of mentor in various work environments. I enjoy responsibility and have often had to train people. Until I became a manager officially I enjoyed this, but stepping into the demands of the role was a wake up call.
I found it hard to find the right balance between micromanaging and giving space – I felt so much responsibility and when people didn’t get results I shamed myself and my management style.
I don’t believe there’s one competent management style; different people need different things from a manager. But what I began to realise is that what I want to be is a leader, not a manager. This became crystal clear once I started my own business.
Management vs leadership
I realised that leadership was what I had been seeking; I’ve always enjoyed leading the way, making decisions, getting people on board, and most importantly I want to make a big impact and inspire others to want that as well.
Realising that I’m a natural leader was one thing, but owning it and embodying it was quite another. It took me a while to hire people because I didn’t want a repeat of what had happened before. My first hire was a contractor (a VA) and made me realise again that managing is not what I want to be doing.
Ultimately I want to have a business manager so I don’t need to deal with this aspect of the business. Having a great team that is well-managed enables you to fully step into your role as a leader, to give yourself over to being an ideas person, a visionary, and to have the time to deeply engage with your vision.
One of the challenges of being a multi-passionate person is completing projects; I have a tendency to get shiny object syndrome (jumping on new shiny ideas or projects without having finished the last one). For me, having a team would help me have the structure and timeline to stay on track with a project.
Often it’s when something goes wrong that you have to take a step back and ask yourself what kind of leader and what kind of manager you want to be without shaming and blaming yourself. Seeing what you could have done differently or better is great, but without shaming, which doesn’t help us.
The power of collaborations
Something I’ve discovered since I started my own business is that I love collaboration. It’s a significantly different thing to hiring someone; in effect you have a shared role (to some extent) and closer to equal responsibility (usually), which makes the power distribution more horizontal.
Collaborations are such a great opportunity to step into your leader role, through creating with other leaders. It’s a wonderful way to get inspired and contribute to someone else’s mission as well. Putting brains together usually means fresh sparks, and that can be super rewarding for everyone involved.
If you’ve been thinking about collaborating with other businesses I highly encourage you to go for it; find people with similar values aad who believe in what you believe. See them as opportunities rather than competition. Talk about your audience and explore how you can create something amazing for them.
Permission to be a leader
Being a leader is not about being perfect. It’s about stepping up to help where you can. Sharing what you can, seeing where there’s a need, leading by example. You can have shitty days or even months but that’s just life, and what counts is how you handle it.
If you’ve been wondering if you’re a leader and if this is resonating, chances are you are! Step into it. Don’t wait for permission. I felt like I had to give myself that permission and can still sometimes feel that I need some other people’s permission; letting go of that is a process.
You don’t have to be perfect, it’s a trial and error process. Ask yourself what it means for you to lead. What’s the impact you want to make in the world? Try journaling about this. You can also tap into your future self, the leader you want to be (check out Gemma Went’s vision meditation in the resources section).
Be who you want to be, now.
What are our thoughts on management and leadership? How do you see yourself? Let’s keep the discussion going in the CCC community group on Facebook!
// Listen to this episode on the Podcast.