• Scott McLellan

Limiting Beliefs in Leadership

Limiting beliefs in leadership can hold even the best leaders back. Many people have limiting beliefs in all aspects of their lives and in turn create a valid reason why these beliefs are gospel.

When we create limiting beliefs in leadership, they can impact more people and potentially start to shape their beliefs too.

I want to tell you about three limiting beliefs that I and many others have had in leadership and importantly what we can do change them.

I don't have enough time.

I bet you are nodding or smiling when you read this one! It is a firm belief many leaders have on a day to day basis. It gives us a way out, it’s not our fault, we can’t do it. There isn’t enough time in the day.

The first thing we need to do is to understand how we currently use the time we have available. Here are a few examples from a time in motion study I completed.

Meetings, emails, performance reviews, emails, breaks, preparing papers, emails. Did I mention emails. Oh, I nearly forgot time with your people!

I have seen many examples in which leaders spend more time reading emails than they do with their people.

To support you to understand why you have this belief, you will need to complete your internal check. When you are completing a task firstly ask yourself “Does this improve my people?” If the answer is no then why are you spending time on it? Remove or significantly reduce the amount of time you spend on them. You will immediately start to notice that you have time to spend on value-add activities.

“They won’t want to hear my ideas”

By not believing in our own ability and value within an organisation or business we can make it all about others. “They won’t like it so why should I speak to them”. How many great ideas or pieces of work have been lost to this limiting belief?

Have you asked them? A good leader will value you because you are different, you bring a different skill and you have an alternative view point. Be confident in your ability and your idea. Spend time to explain how it will add value and the potential plan. Once you have this then have the conversation. You may just be surprised by the outcome.

“My team won't like that”

In leadership we must be fully immersed in our teams, working towards a common goal. I have asked leaders why they didn’t follow through on agreed action with their teams. The responses have been “They won’t like it, they won’t do it or it will cause more problems than solutions.” A limiting belief!

Ask yourself why? Have you have created this belief, was it due to previous teams you have been a part of? Think about those leaders and their approach. Do you agree with it? We're they an inspirational leader?

When leading a team, agree a common goal and contract to try new to deliver success. You are all in the journey together. Together you will succeed! Once agreed you must review the progress and the outcome. When the team achieves success, you gain their respect and start to change your belief. At times the approach may not work, but most importantly you involved them, you will gain respect and they will be willing to try again. This is because they are now invested in you and the goals of the team. Together you succeed and together you may fail, but you are together. The once limiting belief has now become an empowering belief.

You may have or not had these limiting beliefs, take some time to think about how you can change them. Try the approaches above and please let me know how you get on.

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