“Consider how hard it is to change yourself, and you’ll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others” – Unknown.

Being a leader means you need to accept responsibility. Not only for the team but for yourself too. I have attempted to be an authentic leader, allowing my team to see my emotions, who I am and my failings.

This is not who I was in my first leadership position. I was young, I was green, and I was absorbing it all.

Reflecting back now, I fell into a few errors a little too often.

I was not candid enough.
I am not an argumentative person. I do not thrive in the alpha world of dick swinging. My alpha spirit animal is a quiet mage. What this has done to me as a person is that candid and hard conversations require internal planning. This led to me putting them off. In my earlier leadership positions, this was a problem. I would endeavour to double down on my effort, to attempt to lead by showing. Then I would snap. It would all build up in me, and the staff member to which I needed to be candid earlier would be blindsided.

This is my biggest mistake. I could not please everyone and put more pressure on my self. I needed to give staff the benefit of a hard conversion to change or for me to understand staff’s words a bit more. I read Crucial Conversations, and it fundamentally altered how I approach these conversations now.

Listening to bigger voices
I was a young leader, a very young leader. I often wore that as a badge of honour, but there were times when I realised my imposter syndrome was incredibly strong. I did not feel like I belonged. This led to me taking on a multitude of opinions, some which I need not have heard. This made me become the norm of voices in the company.

I needed to own who I was, what I had done and what I could accomplish. My voice counted the most. I should have owned who I am.

Over-stretching myself
I was trying to run too many things while I should have been growing as a leader.
I was CFO, I was running marketing and tech projects, I was consulting, and I was studying my MBA.

Oh, and I was crazy to do all of that. I have never believed in the construct that you should focus on one growth area, but I had taken that mentality a little too far and spread myself too thinly.

Due to this, I did not dedicate myself to people or leading, or to myself health-wise. I put on 20 kilograms in a year. I was getting sick all the time. I was distracted in all things I did.

That’s not a good idea for leading a team.