The Leader's 3-2-1: Three Insights, Two Questions, One Statistic.
Topic: Bridge Leadership Development Gaps
Make the shift from “I don’t think I’m cut out for this” → “I feel like I know what I'm doing” by bridging your development gaps.
A development gap is the space between the challenges you're having and the results you're wanting.
When new to a leadership role, development gaps can sneak up disguised as self-doubt in abilities or as stresses that make you feel like a fish out of water.
Before throwing in the towel or giving in to overwhelm, check to see if you have any development gaps to address in 3-2-1:
Determine Skill Needed
Reflect on a specific situation inciting self-doubt or stress and ask yourself: what skill is lacking? Get as close to the root of the problem as possible, avoiding generalizations. Name the skill that will address the challenge at its core.
Determine Support Needed
Next, reflect: what does support look like for me to build this skill successfully? Tip: when asking for help, focus more on sharing the problem you're solving at the root, and less on the situation that uncovered it. Otherwise, you risk getting advice that may not actually address your core challenge. “My employee is not meeting deadlines” is different than “I need help developing the courage to have a performance conversation” which is also different than “I need help knowing what to say in a performance conversation.”
Find Low Stakes Practice
Identify: what are low stakes situations where I can practice this new skill? Practice when the pressure to perform is low. When leaders wait until high pressure environments to practice, like a difficult performance conversation with a struggling employee, the skill can feel foreign and wobbly. But, when you practice in low stakes environments, like asking the barista to remake a poorly crafted latte, you can be more conscious of the feel and rhythm a skill requires.
“Am I open to this being a learning experience?”
This question is my personal go-to grounding tool when I'm working to close my skill gaps. It helps activate my learning and growth mindset. You can't always be perfect, but you can always be growing.
As you learn, what can you do to maintain balance between challenge and comfort?
Closing skill gaps can be a gritty process. Be on the alert for vulnerability fatigue: when challenges consistently outpace comforts. This can lead to burnout. See what you can get off your plate with this to-do list audit.
Tap the power of mentorship: 87% of employees participating in a mentorship program feel empowered by mentoring and feel an increase in confidence. This study showed that mentorship is especially important for women's confidence and gender equality in the workplace. -Moving Ahead
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