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When It Comes to Leadership, A Little Self Doubt May Benefit

Thoughts On “Great Leaders Aren’t Smug

It’s an all-too familiar experience for many— you walk into a new office and are greeted by several different personalities. There are the shy overachievers, the boisterous overachievers, the know-it-alls, and the middle of the road do-as-I’m-told-ers. Working side by side with such varied personalities can have its ups and downs, but working underneath them can be an even more challenging feat.

In a recent article by Margaret Heffernan on CBS Moneywatch [read the full article here], she reported on a recent trend suggesting that, “… the executives who underestimate themselves perform more highly than those who overestimate their abilities.”

Why does Heffernan think that is?

“Individuals who aren’t convinced they know all the answers tend to look harder for them. Executives who appreciate that there are others in the world who are better, smarter, sharper than they are may be, as leaders, more appreciative and better able to draw in the complementary talents they need.

Furthermore, she goes on to write, “This also goes some way toward explaining why narcissistic leaders rarely do well. In overestimating their own ability, they underperform, taking less care to integrate diverse talents or to develop their own.”

Have you experienced working with a leader who talked the talk yet couldn’t walk the walk? Many of us have, and it can be an incredibly frustrating experience.  At Drum Cafe West, our corporate team building events are designed to break down these barriers. That’s what team building is all about— it helps create a sense of community and respect for one another. However, having someone at the helm that is only interested in the “I” can be detrimental to team building efforts. A sense of openness and understanding of respect goes a long way when it comes to leadership’s ability to architect a strong team.

How many times have you found yourself in a meeting where you felt you weren’t being heard or even asked? On the flip side, how differently did you feel about your team leader when they asked for and valued your opinions and feedback? If you are a team leader, see how differently your team responds to being asked questions regarding their expertise rather than simply being told what course of action they should take.

Before you head into a room with your team, ask yourself what kind of leader you are— then ask yourself what kind of leader you want to be, and walk inside.


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