Most leaders that I talk to are excited and eager to uplevel their team and/or organization. In theory.
In reality, the process of growing a team or organization requires a fundamental shift in how leaders are working today. They often feel that their current approach to leadership will get the job done yet, it rarely does.
There are three critical questions you need to ask yourself before you begin to uplevel your own leadership, your team and/or your organization:
1. What do I want to accomplish in this uplevel?
What does upleveling actually look like? Consider this question and define exactly what uplevel means for you. What specifically will you do (or not do)? What will others do? How will you know you’ve created success? This will help you clarify your goals and create alignment with those around you.
2. How will I manage the change and pressure that goes along with upleveling?
You may be eager to make big changes, but when you really sit down and think about it you say, “Wow, it’s going to be more stress, more pressure, more people, more money, more challenges. I don't know if I’m up for it.” Change is stressful. No two ways about it. But the world needs change. Upleveling your organization, your performance, and who you are as a leader only enriches the impact and contributions you can make, and being able to manage that pressure is critical.
3. How might I block this uplevel from happening?
You may truly desire the change and new level of performance yet something might block you from actually making it happen. For some people this is a fear of failure, but for many, it is actually a fear of success and the bigger game.
After you ask yourself these three critical questions, you will begin the process of preparing for the uplevel you desire. They are simple yet profound questions that help you get at the heart of the matter.
Questions in Action
I recently worked with a leader who had defined what upleveling looked like for her, but during a coaching call she admitted to being completely terrified. When we discussed it, she responded, “You know, I thought it was a fear of failure, but I’m actually afraid of success. If I succeed, what is it going to mean for my leadership? For the people I work with? What will it mean personally for me?”
Yes, she was clear about her goals, but afraid of how achieving them would affect her life so she procrastinated, made excuses, and avoided taking action - she was stuck. These are all valid concerns, but they don’t have to be immobilizing. Overcoming the fear starts with creating a new definition of success, one that works for you. If you decide what success is (and what it isn’t), you’ll feel ready and able to start moving forward.
In the future, I will be sharing strategies to manage pressure and develop leadership resilience. When you have these abilities, the process of upleveling and growing your team or company becomes easier. You are able to uplevel again and again, and you’re able to support the people around you in upleveling, as well.
Weekly Uplevel Practice
Take time this week to consider some area you want to uplevel then ask yourself the three critical questions:
- What do I want to accomplish in this uplevel?
- How will I manage the change and pressure that goes along with upleveling?
- How might I block this uplevel from happening?
I encourage you to begin to unpack your reservations, because only with introspection can you truly understand who you are as a leader, and how you can become a better one.
Look forward to hearing your answers.