So much of doing the right thing sometimes feels like we’re pretending, doesn’t it? We pretend to be calm when we are scared to death of making the wrong decision. We act as if we know exactly what we are talking about when sometimes we are guessing based on previous experience and limited knowledge we’ve been given by others. We might fake a smile when what we are feeling is contempt or trepidation.
I was in a program once that said to fake it until you make it. It felt strange to me at the time. I didn’t understand how I could act in an opposite way of what I was feeling. Although, acting on my feelings had led me to some pretty bad decisions.
What you feel is not always going to be in alignment with what you will be called to do as a leader. Sometimes you will be tired and you’ll have to push through it to get a deadline met. There will be times when a team member criticizes you behind your back to one of your peers and you’ll need to subdue the feeling to confront the person and find the best path for the greatest good of the team. Probably most often you will need to show poise and confidence at times that you feel quite the opposite.
Here are some resources to help you learn to “act as if” and why it actually works to turn you into the leader you aspire to be.
TAKE NOTE OF THESE 15 KEYS TO INCREDIBLE CONFIDENCE:
This article will explain why not to fidget, to stand erect, to be yourself, why paying attention and making eye contact is essential, how to pause before you speak, why offering constant reassurance isn’t effective, why saying you don’t know can be highly useful, and several others that might be helpful in faking it until you make it.
WATCH THIS: This TED talk with Amy Cuddy has been a popular one about how your body language shapes who you are. Do you sometimes make yourself smaller?
WHAT NOT TO FAKE: That you care. If you don’t care about your team member’s success or the vibrancy of your organization, remove yourself from the leadership position you have been given. Caring about how your actions and behaviors will affect others is the cornerstone of servant leadership. As simple as this principle sounds, it’s not always easy to execute in a way that is for everyone’s highest good.
Make the effort this week to pretend that you have patience, to act as if you are poised and confident, and fake a kind gesture even when every cell in your body is exhausted, frustrated, and just wanting a single break from the pressure and stress you chose when you said yes to being a leader.
Here’s another installment of Ole Uncle Ned.