Be a More Effective Leader By Overcoming Self-Doubt

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Most experienced hardwood industry executives know there is a difference between being a boss and a leader? In virtually all situations, choosing to be an effective leader is the best formula for achieving your financial and leadership goals.

Developing our current leaders and doing what we can to develop our leaders of tomorrow is a major focus for us. It doesn’t matter if that is in the area of forestry, sawmill management or kiln operations. Expanding our team of effective leaders is critical.

be a more effective leaderIn the past we have shared various different traits we find helpful to emphasize including how leaders can benefit from carving out time for solitary reflection, the importance of being able to drive change, and the need for leaders to be able to ask great questions. We have also been fans of the book “The Truth About Leadership” by business experts James Kouzes and Barry Posner. These authors advocate traits such as honesty, being forward looking, being inspirational and demonstrating to your team you are capable to lead.

Another area we believe leaders need to focus on is overcoming the issue of self-doubt. This happens to everyone at some point, but as a leader it’s never good to succumb to this negative emotion. When discussing this topic with our team, here are a few tips to we find helpful to emphasize.

Assess the difference between emotions and reality. Self-doubt occurs even among the most confident leaders. That doesn’t mean that emotion is rooted in reality. To quell your “inner critic,” says branding expert Melissa Dawn, compile “a written list (or a mental one) of all the things you’ve accomplished—no matter how big or small.” Keep focused “on the lessons learned and how you overcame the obstacle and use it to fuel your vision for what’s ahead.”

Keep positive-thinking people around you. Mastering self-doubt often entails embedding yourself within an upbeat, positive work environment. Start by taking “inventory of who you spend the majority of your time with and how these individuals make you feel,” says business expert Olivia Jenkins. If they are in any way undermining your confidence or fostering self-doubt, “you may want to minimize the amount of influence they have over you and seek out the company of people who uplift and inspire you.”

Lean into your concerns. Having self-doubt is common to just about everyone. On the flip side, never having doubts can lead to a misleading opinion of oneself. Here’s another area in which having the right team on board can make all the difference.

If the only people you interact with are similar to you in temperament, “you probably won’t grow, won’t be tested, and won’t increase your ability and capacity to do whatever you’re called to do in life.” By contrast, leading a team of individuals who provoke and challenge you is more conducive to staying on the path to growth and personal improvement.

Remind yourself of past achievements. Another way to counteract the potentially debilitating effects of self-doubt is by remind yourself of all the great things you’ve achieved thus far. Writing down a list of those achievements may be the best approach; or just taking some time to reflect upon your accomplishments can help dispel negative feelings about your capabilities and potential.

Even the best business leaders experience moments of self-doubt. For us in the hardwood lumber industry that can mean second guessing the price we recently set for green lumber, or how much FAS or common grade lumber we keep in our inventory. But it is important we don’t let our thoughts linger there. It helps to move on! So, consider emphasizing with your team the importance to taking steps to overcome self-doubt! It just might help you develop more effective leaders!

Tony C.
Baillie Lumber
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