Are you a business, organisational or team leader who knows you need to spend more time working ‘on’ your business or team but are struggling to remove yourself from the operational aspects of your role? You may even hesitate to consider yourself a leader, with a self-image far removed from being one. Perhaps the word ‘leader’ has never truly sat comfortably with you. If you resonate with any or all of this, you might even acknowledge that you operate out of frustration, blame and anger whenever your team members are unreliable and underperforming, leading you to having feelings of overwhelm and self-doubt.
When we undervalue ourselves as leaders, we risk failing to unleash the potential of our people, which ultimately keeps us stuck in a self-limiting cycle. In this article, I share what I’ve observed as a coach working with many business owners and leaders within organisations in relation to self-limiting perceptions and offer some simple and effective strategies to:
Break the self-limiting cycle and step into leadership,
Effectively utilise the skills and abilities of your team, and
Build a culture of care within the team that instils a collective desire to grow.
Looking away will cost you dearly
I walked into a swim school I’d seen in excellent shape sixteen years earlier to find numbers were down and the owner, Jenny, still jumping in the water to teach. The fact that she was still working in the business after so many years was a red flag. On the surface, operations looked relatively seamless. The teaching system appeared to have stood the test of time, the teachers were proficiently trained, and the building was clean and well maintained. However, I couldn’t help wondering about the growth opportunities Jenny was missing out on by remaining stuck in operations.
Having once owned a successful swim school, I know what it takes to build one effectively. Speaking with Jenny, I reflected on how I used to find it challenging to trust my team to take on the role I was doing. However, I knew that by giving them the autonomy to support me, it would free up my time to step into an actual leadership role and work on the business rather than in it. When I finally made the crucial shift from operations to leader by trusting my team, it enabled me to focus on what truly mattered – developing children into confident and competent swimmers. In other words, nothing was more important than the objective of serving our customers to the best of our ability. I knew I couldn’t give this objective the attention it deserved unless I focused my attention on being the leader.
Jenny acknowledged my reflection but persisted in using excuses, telling me things like, ‘Staff are unreliable’, ‘I just haven’t had the heart and energy to build it’, and, ‘You know me, I can’t get out of the water’. My attention turned to what she might have been looking away from. Was she resisting her ability to be a leader? Was she undervaluing the capacity of her team to develop and fulfil a role she was currently doing?
Breaking the cycle
To break the cycle of being stuck in operations, whether as a business owner or an organisational or team leader, you need to zoom in on and develop the qualities within that will enable you to thrive as a leader. Let me bring your attention to three of the thirty-one qualities – or Aspects of Being – within the Being Framework™ that are key to breaking the self-limiting cycle and stepping into leadership. Engineered by Ashkan Tashvir, the Being Framework is a multi-layered paradigm that zooms in on the underlying qualities that influence human behaviour and drive our decisions, actions and results. The definition for each Aspect of Being highlighted below is an excerpt from Ashkan’s book, BEING.
Care (concern) is when someone or something matters to you and affects you in such a way that you ensure they are looked after, protected or dealt with in the best manner possible. It is when you value someone or something so profoundly that it leads you to do whatever is necessary to nurture that person or matter and dedicate the appropriate level of time, resources and attention to them.Tashvir, A. (2021). BEING (p. 275). Engenesis Publications.
When you get in touch with what truly matters to you and the impact you want to make, you can instil this care into the culture of your organisation or team. I encourage you to support your people to find meaning and purpose in their roles, which feeds into the next Aspect of Being I am highlighting for its connection to breaking a self-limiting cycle: higher purpose.
Higher purpose is being drawn and compelled toward a future vision or cause greater than your personal concerns and beyond your immediate interests and/or comfort in such a way that it sets your priorities and worldview. Higher purpose is considered the source of the inspiration and charisma required to effectively lead, inspire and develop others as leadersTashvir, A. (2021). BEING (p. 436). Engenesis Publications.
When leaders tap into being of higher purpose, it gives rise to their vision and inspires that vision throughout their teams. This quality drives progress and supports a leader in breaking their self-limiting cycle. Higher purpose comes from within, and your leadership will shine through when you’re operating from this space.
Courage is the state of Being that gives rise to the ability to make decisions, move forward and take action when you are frightened, worried or concerned for your safety and/or the safety of others. Tashvir, A. (2021). BEING (p. 393). Engenesis Publications.
When you have a healthy relationship with courage, you are more likely to have the conversations that have been missing, even if it feels uncomfortable. With courage, you can set expectations for performance, develop individual and team morale and create an overall culture in which people care and strive towards achieving the mission and vision of the business.
Whenever I support business, organisational and team leaders to develop a healthier relationship with care, higher purpose and courage, they develop a greater capacity and ability to trust their team members enough to step away from the operational side of the business and lead. This has a positive ripple effect on their team/s and the culture of the business or organisation and instils a collective desire to grow. If you’re considering developing yourself as a leader, and you can see the value in unleashing your potential and that of the people you lead, let's further this conversation. Join me on the platform, or reach out for a chat.