Impacts of Your Inner Critic as a Leader

Understand the connection between your inner voice and how you show up as a leader.

When we are closed to ideas what we hear is criticism. When we are open to ideas what we get is advice.”

Simon Sinek

Your inner voice is a result of the beliefs that you hold, both positive and negative. This has a direct effect on your leadership style because it determines how you think about yourself and others. Your inner voice dictates your self-confidence as well as how much confidence you have in your team, so it is important to recognize how this is affecting your leadership.  

 

Leadership Styles Influenced by the Inner Voice

#1 The Master Problem Solver

I have all the answers and know the “best” way.

What the inner voice says: “I know more than everyone else,” “They would be lost without me,” or “They won’t be able to move forward until I solve this for them.”

The Master Problem Solver comes from an inner critic who tells you that if you don’t have all the answers, you do not deserve to lead. This creates a focus on criticizing others, constantly looking for evidence of what they don’t know, whether you mean to or not. Problem solving leaders may think they are helping, but the reality is that in order for you to be “right,” someone else has to be “wrong,” and this can put a strain on your workplace relationships.

 

#2 The Blamer and Shamer

– “I am responsible when things go wrong.”

What the inner voice says: “Someone must be held accountable,” “I’m the leader so it’s my fault if things are not perfect.”

The Blamer and Shamer gets bogged down by an inner voice focused on self-criticism. The guilt these leaders take on weighs them down and keeps them from performing at their best. Constantly assigning blame leads to increased stress which can manifest as a need to micromanage everyone around you, and this leaves your team feeling like you don’t trust them or believe that they are capable.

 

#3 Collaborative Mindset

I believe in myself and my team.

What the inner voice says: “Everyone brings unique strengths to the team,” “Our collective efforts create value for our customers.”

The Collaborative leader has confidence in themselves and their team. The ability to let others work without the need to intervene gives them the space to let their strengths shine and frees up valuable time for leaders to focus on other tasks. These leaders foster mutual trust and respect with their teams and inspire strong collaboration. This results in an inclusive culture, blending individual gifts with a sense of belonging. 

 

Impacts of an Inner Critic on Your Leadership

An inner critic develops from a pattern of negative beliefs that manifest as a lack of confidence both in yourself and your team. The Master Problem Solver and the Blamer and Shamer are examples of the leadership style that someone with an inner critic is likely to adopt, and this can have a great impact on your performance as a leader and/or your ability to lead during change.  

How does an inner critic affect your leadership?
  1. Lack of Confidence
  2. Constantly ranking and judging everyone around you
  3. Encourages competition among team members
  4. Lack of trust and respect between leaders and their team
How does your inner voice impact your team?
  1. Higher turnover
  2. Struggling workforce
  3. Disheartened and lack of passion for the work (disengagement)
  4. Limited or diminished results

 

4 Beliefs that Create a Powerful Inner Voice for Leaders

Our inner voice is a manifestation of the beliefs that we hold. When these beliefs are no longer serving us, we can change them by focusing on positive beliefs instead. High achieving leaders hold these four beliefs:

 

Believe#1:  I have confidence in my capability as a leader.

Confidence comes from an inner voice that reminds you that you have what you need to be successful. Rather than focusing on what is going wrong, this inner voice focuses on opportunities for growth and gratitude for what has gone well.

 

Believe#2:  I have confidence in my team and their ability to succeed.

Confidence in your team allows you to step back and let them flourish in their individual roles. When you believe that your team is competent and capable, you instill a sense of mutual trust and respect that empowers everyone to bring their true talents forward.

 

Believe#2: Everyone has unique strengths that bring significant value to the team.

This mindset is imperative for inclusive leadership that creates a culture of belonging, empathy, and stronger collaboration. When individuals know that they are valued for who they are (not just what they do) they feel more secure in their position on the team and step fully into the role that makes the most of their unique talents.

 

Believe#1:  It is important to acknowledge and celebrate achievements.

When leaders take the time to personally acknowledge individual contributions to the team’s success, they reinforce a culture of teamwork rather than competition. This allows everyone to unite behind the team’s shared goals with deeper commitment and overall greater satisfaction.

Want More From Our Leaders & Inner Critic Series?

 

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