Let's be clear. Others' perceptions of you can make or break your chances for a promotion. Why? Because companies promote people based on how they're "perceived". The old saying "perception is reality" is never more true than in these situations.
If you take an honest look at yourself today, how do you think others view you?
Taking on a role as a new leader is quite daunting. The learning curve is steep, and one fraught with emotional ups and downs. Uncertainty is a common state of being. Unlike seasoned leaders who can rely on experience to inform their decision-making, new leaders are venturing into uncharted waters at every turn.
When Sun Tsu wrote The Art of War fifteen hundred years ago, I expect he didn't anticipate it would be dredged up in an article on harnessing our fears in 21st century life. Then again, perhaps he did.
I have had the privilege of working for some respected companies and senior managers in my many years of corporate life. Companies that have done well, in large part due to the quality of the people they hire and promote into leadership roles, the positive culture they create, and the living of a mission that underpins their existence.
The word "coaching" gets thrown around a lot in management. Managers go through endless courses in "performance coaching" aimed at raising the bar for employees. After 17 years of leadership, I have long ago lost count.
The "performance coaching" model goes something like this:
Highlight the performance gap or issue
Gain agreement that an issue exists
Work with the employee to develop a plan to address it
We've all been there at one time or another. You have just lost your job of many years. You're facing a particularly challenging situation with a customer or a colleague. There's wind of downsizing or a merger, causing uncertainty. You've been passed over for promotion.
Inspiration can feel elusive at times. But if you're finding yourself adrift and inspiration failing you no matter what you do, you might want to take stock of your values.
Jack London once said, "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." His approach of throwing whatever you have at the wall and hoping that something inspirational sticks is one way forward - sheer blunt force.