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Cut Yourself Some Slack

I help people in the early stages of their leadership career agency-side to build trust with their team and their clients.

This is the end game many of my clients come to me wanting to achieve. It's that time when you feel accepted by your team and the clients are sending the briefs direct to you.

It's easy to think that to get there you need to focus on the outer leadership stuff - being more strategic, taking the lead on pitches and presentations, learning how to give good performance reviews. This is important. But it is not the full picture, and it often gets a disproportionate amount of our time.

To really fly as a leader, what you actually need to do, is start with you.

You need to start with one simple question - what would it look like to be my own champion, and not rely on the words and actions of others (your clients, your team.)?

I spent my early leadership years directing almost all my energy into my team and clients, keeping them happy, making them feel encouraged, supported and motivated.

But when it came to me, I was doing the opposite. When we hit a problem (an unhappy client or team member), I would blame myself. I would internalise this as me not being good enough and not up to the demands of the role. I would question my work choices, if it was worth it and before I knew it I was Googling "how to become a Classics teacher?"

And here's the thing, when you're in this state, you don't make good decisions. You're drifting away from the reality of the situation and operating from a position of "not good enough." And when this is the stance, the action (in my case at least) was I need to work harder, I need to work smarter, I need to fix this. And this is an endless loop that unless you stand back, get perspective and support to examine and rewire, you'll find yourself in ad finitum.

But there is another way. If you can extend the same ambition to yourself as you do to your clients and to your team - to make them happy, to encourage, empower and motivate them - then suddenly your perspective is transformed. A problem is just a problem. It's something to be fixed and you have options available to you to fix it. These options are expansive - take a break, call client, ask team for help, get a senior opinion, remove x from diary etc.

We often talk about being an empathetic leader. But this is as much about being empathetic towards yourself, as towards others. You're in a new role. You haven't done this before. You're figuring things out. So when something doesn't go your way, cut yourself some slack.

If you want to hear more about my 121 and group coaching programmes DM me on

And please share, like and comment - I love meeting new people and hearing how my writing lands with people.

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