They say that leaders aren’t born; they’re made.
Well, as the new CEO of ENVIRO AgScience, I have yet to determine whether I was born for this position or if taking the reins of this company will make me the leader I need to become. Maybe it’s a little of both.
But what I do know is that stepping into an executive role is not for the faint at heart. It first requires you to overcome the fear of simply being in charge, as nothing is more challenging than overcoming your own doubts and fears.
This “imposter syndrome,” which I liken to “The Great Oz,” is a fear that the curtain will be pulled back and behind that big, booming voice lies little ol’ me cowering in a corner. Like other leaders – new and old – I work to find the balance between buying into my own hype and facing my own reality. So, here’s what I’ve learned thus far:
Find your source. Every leader needs to find her (or his) inner strength, and mine comes from God. I continually work to overcome my fears by tapping into my faith, knowing that God has put me in this position for a reason, and it’s surely not to fail. He is well aware of my abilities and my shortcomings, and He will fill in the gaps. This much I know for sure.
Build a network. An executive title might imply that you should know everything, but you simply cannot. You need to build a knowledgebase — a solid team of individuals who support your areas of weakness. Identify male and female mentors to act as sounding boards for questions you have or unfamiliar situations you face. Start with your predecessor and more experienced executives in your organization or industry. And don’t forget the importance of encouragement. Surround yourself with like-minded friends and associates who motivate, inspire and care enough to offer advice (solicited and unsolicited).
Be authentic. As you gain knowledge in your new position, there will be times when you might not have an answer. Own it! Know what you know and what you don’t know, and be sincere about it and not overly apologetic. Chances are that if you don’t have a clue, someone you know does. Being genuine is more endearing to potential partners and customers than faking it.
Don’t fear failure. This new opportunity will stretch you out of your comfort zone, and you’re going to do some things right and some wrong. That’s ok. It’s all in preparation. Keep growing and keep learning. Read, study and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to fail, knowing that you learn from your failures.
Learn | Lead | Succeed