Don’t Let Your Deficiency Overwhelm Your Proficiency

Posted 09.07.2021

When you’re new to a leadership role or new to an organization it can be a challenge to project the right amount of grounded confidence that you belong and can contribute. It can be an even bigger challenge when you’re experiencing both at once – new to the role and new to the organization. There’s so much you don’t know that it can mess with your mojo.

Showing up with confidence is so important to success and effectiveness that I wrote a whole chapter on the topic in The Next Level (Chapter 2: Pick up confidence in your presence; let go of doubt in how you contribute). It came up again recently in a conversation with a highly accomplished and experienced executive who’s new to her company. She shared how much she’s been thinking and worrying about the challenge she’s having in mastering the ins and outs of her new company’s product line. At the same time, even though she’s only been there a few months, she’s already making a major impact in raising the bar for her team, prompting them to think and act in new ways and bringing a fresh energy to an organization that has been set in its ways and needs to innovate.

After talking with her for a while, I suggested that overfocusing on her perceived deficiency could overwhelm all the mojo and momentum she’s creating with her many proficiencies. I think that was one of those “things that make you go hmmm” moments for her. It may be for you or someone on your team as well. Over-rotating on our gaps can overwhelm all the things that make us great in the first place.

If that sounds like you or someone you know, here are three things to keep in mind that will help you manage your mojo:

Believe You Should Be There: It’s highly unlikely that you were selected for your role through some crazy fluke or accident. What’s highly likely is that a group of smart and accomplished people with high standards chose you for the job as the best candidate out of a pool of other smart and accomplished people. They had a lot of options and bet on you. They believed you could do the job and more. They believed you should be there. So should you.

Run Your Proven Playbook: You’re in the role you’re in now because you have a track record of success. Over the years, you’ve developed a playbook for how to build great teams, develop talent and accomplish big goals. You’ve proven it out over time. Run that playbook and quickly start leveraging the proficiencies and experience you bring to the table. Establishing early momentum and posting some quick wins will help create the space and grace you need to learn more about the things you don’t understand yet.

Assume a Beginner’s Mind: Even though you’re an expert at a lot of things, there are still a lot of things you don’t know. That’s natural and normal. It’s part of life. As you navigate your new role, assume a beginner’s mind. Be curious. Ask questions. Have fun learning. Be gentle on yourself as you move through the learning curve. There’s always more to learn.

How about you? Have you ever been in a leadership role that challenged your confidence and your mojo? What did you do to leverage your proficiencies and minimize your deficiencies? Please share your lessons learned in a comment if you’re reading this on LinkedIn or, if you’re reading this directly on the Eblin Group blog, please send me a note with your story.

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