The Best Leaders Don’t Do it All Alone

In my line of work I meet a lot of type A, high performing, ambitious women. They are very good at what they do. But can they do it all? I see women in leadership roles taking on too many roles, resulting in an overworked state that causes stress in the office, at home, and in their bodies.

It’s true, you can do it better, but the best leaders understand they can’t do everything themselves. The best leaders learn to lead others. Use the following 4-step process to learn to develop a leader’s mindset, let go of your perfectionism, delegate tasks, and empower those who can help you succeed.

1. Develop a Leader’s Mindset

The best leaders flow in a state of creativity and spaciousness, while leaders in name only act and make decisions based on fear. Being in charge comes with its own set of pressures, but when we take this on ourselves, we become closed off to creativity. We fear making mistakes or allowing others to, we fear implementing changes and trying new things, and we tend to lead based on how others think we should, versus acting from a place of authenticity.
When we develop the attitudes and belief systems of a true leader, we live in a creative mindset, free from operating in survival mode, and inspire our teams with our authenticity and fearlessness.

2. Learn to Trust Others

Pride in our own skills often separates us from others, and over time we learn to distrust that anyone could do anything as well as we could. The best leaders, however, not only take pride in their own skills, but take pride in their ability to help others hone and develop skills of their own.

The world’s best leaders empower their teams through mentoring and teaching. They assign meaningful tasks to others, so others may share in a felt sense of purpose.

When autonomy is taken away through micromanaging, or worse yet, through distrust, workers lose interest in their jobs and develop resentment toward supervisors. When given clear guidance and trusted to complete tasks on their own, workers feel invested in and responsible for the outcome.

Self-assuredness means trusting yourself, but equally trusting your ability to delegate tasks to the right people.

3. Practice Patience

If there’s one quality I see most lacking in high achievers, it’s patience. We live in a world where speed is rewarded and where everything needs to get done yesterday. We expect our teams to know what we know and to always be one step ahead, having read our minds.

Mindfulness meditation plays a role in helping us develop patience. By practicing focused breathing techniques, we can train the mind to let go of the need to control, and allow things to unfold more creatively.

Patience doesn’t mean that everything slows down and deadlines get pushed back. Patience allows us to relate to our teams in a more spacious way, and helps us better implement steps 1 and 2, embodying the role of a leader and trusting others.

4. Detach from the Outcome

When making fear based decisions, we often have a very specific goal in mind. The fear is that we won’t get the one specific outcome we’re tied to. Of course, we need to have a vision and a goal and we’re going to do our best to reach that goal. Frustrations arise when there’s a mismatch between our expectations and reality, frequently because we are attached to one single outcome. Letting go of that attachment releases us from suffering.

Once we’ve taken our best-informed action, we need to step back. In Miquel Ruiz’s groundbreaking book on the Four Agreements, the fourth agreement is to always do our best. As high achievers, that’s what we do. Once we’ve done it, it’s time to let go of self-judgement and regret. As the Indian Buddhist monk Santideva once said, “if you can do something about it, don’t worry, and if you can’t do anything about it, don’t worry.” Do your best, and then let yourself rest.

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To feel most accomplished in your line of work, it’s important to be an expert in what you do, but it’s equally important to become an expert in leading others. By creating a team of capable leaders and implementing successful systems, your own work is magnified. Free from taking on every task yourself, you’ll be freed to do what you do best, the high-level thinking that led you to the top.

To learn more about the Mindfulness Meditation techniques mentioned here, The Four Agreements, or how to develop a more sustainable leader’s mentality, contact me.

 

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