How to be the leader you want to see

Find out how being the leader you want to be is easier than you might think – it just starts with YOU. And discover a simple, three-step process to doing it.

Ever heard that phrase ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’? I did for the first time at a conference for women in 2018. I was there as the mindset specialist to talk on a panel about winning your inner game (the one in your head).

I nearly fell off my chair when I heard it.

This statement was being made like it was a rule, and the 200 or so women in the audience seemed to be accepting it because someone admirable was making the statement.

It struck me how willing we are as women to take on things like this, leaving them unchallenged. 

Why our career can be what we want it to be – if we play a bigger game

What if that belief is the reason that there is a gender gap? What if we could park our previous beliefs about pay, and a lack of fairness? And instead we entertained, just for a moment, that our career could be just what we wanted it to be if we knew how to step up and play a bigger game.

In my experience personally, and as a mindset coach, I know that people don’t stop believing things until they have something better to believe in its place.

So rather than standing up in the middle of the auditorium and shouting ‘No!  It’s not true’, I made a commitment to doing something about it for more than just the women sat with me that day.

I didn’t know it in that moment, but fast forward 14 months and I decided to share my message in written form. And so the idea for Be The Leader You Want To See was born. 

Hundreds of thousands of brilliant women are getting in their own way

My book would be the opposite of that awful phrase – it would empower women to see that they don’t need to wait for a someone else to pave the way. In fact, they didn’t need to wait at all because that the leader they have been waiting to see is sitting dormant inside them.

I saw my role as helping them to access what they already have, and teach them how to market it to best effect. No more believing in one’s inadequacies or deficiencies. No more believing that we need more experience or qualifications to take the lead. 

No more waiting.

There are hun­dreds of thousands of women who are capable and brilliant who could be getting in their own way. Perhaps it is because they fear what they will have to trade. Perhaps they don’t believe they have what it takes. But perhaps they do…

You have everything you need RIGHT NOW to be the leader you want to see

You have everything you need right now to be the leader you want to see. The reason you haven’t seen that leader in the workplace yet is because it’s you.

I’ve worked with so many women just like you, who entertain lofty thoughts, but get dragged back into the weeds when they wonder how they have been working this hard for so long, and yet feel that effort has not brought them the career they’d love.

Perhaps that’s because your focus is in the wrong place. Rather than looking at the gap, let’s look at what we have and assume that, a bit like those desert island challenges, we have everything we need to achieve what we want to achieve.

When you know how you can apply your efforts in a more tar­geted fashion, you will see your career surge, and create more connection than ever in your relationships.

Why getting to the top doesn’t have to require personal sacrifice

Contrary to common belief, getting to the top of your game doesn’t have to spell personal sacrifice. In this new age, the person who is the most connected and balanced personally is the one who will profit profes­sionally.

In every coaching conversation I have the same concerns come up: fear of failure, a confusion about which personality traits, if any, should be visible at work, persistent self-questioning, fear of judgement and impostor syndrome. 

As long as we pay attention to the areas in which we are lacking, the less focus we put on leveraging what’s brilliant about us. This won’t inspire anyone; including you.

You must set the tone for all the other men and women who look up to you: the people in your organisation, your family members, and the next generation.

You can’t wait any longer – you need to lead now. There are people watching you, following your lead, and if you play small, you are encouraging them to stay small, too. 

You don’t have to take radical steps to create fulfilment

I worked myself into the ground because I thought my career was the most important thing in my life. In reality, I was using it as a mechanism to help me believe that I was good enough.

After a decade of leaving my career in the hands of others, I said, ‘No more’. I looked at how I was spending my time, took a truth­ful deep dive into how little my efforts seemed to be paying off, and I got off the corporate ladder.

Having trained as a coach in 2005, I finally set up my coaching business in 2014 and I haven’t looked back. I didn’t have self-awareness, courage or an understanding of my personal influence back then, but I do now. 

Here’s what I know: you don’t have to take radical steps and change your career or your life to start creating fulfilment, but you do need to take an honest and loving look at yourself before you will be in a position to genuinely lead other people effectively.

The ABC model to being the leader you want to see

I believe the simplest to understand and easiest way to implement this process is my ABC model. This is laid out in Be The Leader You Want To See.

1) Awareness 

How you have been showing up? Where have you have been spending your time? What is it all for?

Taking the time to consider the now will expose the areas where you are being limited and allowing your talents to be capped. Unless this is made to look extremely unpalatable you will always be tempted to settle into these patterns.

That is not what a leader does. A leader looks impartially at what is, asks themselves if that is a good enough standard to live by, and then makes a decision to change what isn’t working. They strive to be better.

2) Bravery 

Growth doesn’t require massive leaps of faith. The magic doesn’t only happen outside of your comfort zone. Instead I believe that if you nudge the edges of that comfort zone consistently enough that it expands.

The level of bravery that I am talking about is aligned with nervous excitement, not terror. It means that you only need one win under your belt before you are curious enough to see what the next brave act will generate. 

3) Contribution 

When you are consistently intentional about growing your self-awareness and bravery, you can make an unfathomable contribution to your own fulfilment as a leader, whether you think your current job is the one for you or not.

This is about creating a new perspective for your personal and professional future before the circumstances show up. It is about how you make an impact with your personal leadership.

All the time you fear you have wasted, and all the pigeonholes you believe you are in, they all count. It’s time to be tactical about how to leverage all of your experience.

Leadership starts with YOU

Leadership, in your life or your career all starts with you – you’re the only factor fully under your control. Buying into fear and self doubt doesn’t help you, and it doesn’t help others either. 

Imagine a version of your life where you are clear about what you want. That vision excites you. You aren’t quite sure how to go about getting there, but you know you are supported, and you have a track record of trusting yourself and sticking to your commitments.

How much easier is it then to keep going. The treacle you have been wading through has evaporated, and taking each step brings new awareness that helps you feel braver about the actions you want to take. This vision is possible for you, if you choose it.

Or you could stay as you are and repeat all the patterns that are keeping you frustrated. Which one brings more joy, more ease? I think we both know the answer.

Your time to play bigger is now. You have everything you need already. Let’s unlock the goldmine and reveal your true talents to the world. Show others how great they can be by being the best possible version of you.

If you would like to be guided through the ABC process in a way that feels like your personal cheerleader is talking only to you, then you will love eSusie Ramroop’s book Be The Leader You Want To See.

If you’d like to join Susie Ramroop for the month of September and read this book alongside others with accountability thrown in, register your interest here. 

Photo by Daria Shevtsova.