People complain that their leaders are selfish. But behind that story, I see leaders who struggle with knowing what they want. Self-knowledge is a top leadership skill that I’ll show you how to attain.
Leaders have to be accountable to their teams, investors, and clients. And often abandon themselves.
You are allowed to have needs.
You are allowed to have preferences.
Just because you lead a team or manage clients, that does NOT mean you always have to do what others want. This is a core leadership skill.
I struggled deeply with this lesson (and still see it crop up in my leadership).
Carrying Responsibility: A Shared Leadership Childhood
Many leaders I work with also struggle with this one because they grew up in households where they were “parentified” young. They had a single mom or dad raising them, or a sick parent, or absent family.
Whatever the reason, it all circles back to feeling you have to fulfill an adult role without needs.
But this is IMPOSSIBLE! And without your own compass of needs, you will also fail to have a compass for your business.
So how do you find your compass again?
The Leaders Challenge: Find Your Trusted Person and Space
My core belief is that social wounds are best healed with social solutions.
Find your person you TRUST! It could be with a coach, a partner, a co-founder, or any trusted companion.
Set aside sacred time for you to explore your needs and tell them.
One practice that’s helped clients is the Double Test.
Try the Double Test: The Inner Leadership Skill That Matters
First, ask yourself what you want in this moment (you can apply broadly or to a specific situation, like what you want to eat for dinner).
Close your eyes and wait for an answer from within. This could be a physical sensation in your body, a visual that arises, or a word that pops up. Focus on having this come upwards from the body instead of downwards from the conscious brain.
Write down the answer or tell your partner.
Then ask yourself, “Is this actually what I want?”
This second layer ensures you aren’t answering the question from someone else’s perspective. We are so trained to instinctually answer for another that it takes a second (and even third!) layer of questioning to go deeper.
If you feel resistance, discuss with your partner or write down the specific storylines that crop up.
Remember: the more self-focused the answer, the better! This is about discovering what you want, so let’s get ruthless and unapologetic about the answer. It’s an important leadership skill to first have a rooted internal compass before you can guide others.