Questioning Your Education Leadership Ability? Here’s How To Get Your Swagger Back
Are you an otherwise competent education leader who questions your leadership ability? Don’t worry, we can help you through this crisis of leadership. To start, you should know that you are not alone. Second-guessing your leadership decisions and ability is common. Most people feel like an imposter or fraud at some point in their career, even though all of the available evidence contradicts these thoughts.
In this piece, I want to give you tips for removing all of your doubts and silencing that voice inside your head.
- Become a lifelong learner. The smartest people in the room know that although they may be brilliant, they don’t know it all. They are always learning and asking questions. In doing this, you realize that you don’t have to know it all, but you must be willing to seek out the right answers. Also, the field of education is always changing, so if you embrace a lifelong learner’s mindset, you will always be up on the latest trends and issues. You can leverage this intel to create an educational environment where teaching, learning, and administration happens at an optimal level.
- Allow yourself to be human. When education leaders question their abilities, they sometimes live in constant fear of being exposed as frauds. Be transparent about the things that you are working on and the things you are learning. This shows your team and peers that you are human, and it gives them permission to do the same. As a result, you all can support each other on a journey of personal growth. Don’t listen to haters and critics that try to make you feel bad about not knowing something or not being able to perform a certain task. It’s like the pot calling the kettle black. As you get to know that person, you will learn that just like you and every other human; they have room to grow as well.
- Do a knowledge audit. Be honest with yourself and create a list of the things that you need to learn how to do and the knowledge gaps that you have. Then create an action plan for acquiring the skills, abilities, and knowledge that you would like to possess. This may mean taking a course, attending a conference or workshop, internet research, watching a video, or listening to a podcast. We live in an era of content overload, and for lifelong learners, this is a great thing.
- Get advice. Having imposter syndrome is not a trivial thing. It can lead to feelings of self-sabotage, anxiety, and depression. Leadership is hard enough, without the dark cloud of self-doubt. If your feelings persist, talk to someone who you trust or even seek professional help. Not doing anything can sabotage your career and erode your efficacy as an education leader. You don’t want to wallow in your own thoughts and allow doubt to become a reality. The sooner you seek out support, the better.
What advice would you give to an education leader who is suffering from imposter syndrome and questioning their ability to lead?