Today I’d like to give you some insights on “power gaps” inspired by Kathy Caprino – a specialist on leadership and personal growth. She said that she observed thousands of professional leaders, both women and men building their careers and realizing that their dreams had not been achieved. They were far far away from their business goals and satisfying results.
A lot of us don’t want to express such feelings like sadness and fear – we concentrate the energy on hiding them and imitating the happy and professional life. Some of us succeed but aren’t fully satisfied with our careers. Other leaders feel that they don’t belong and want to have a greater impact, more responsibilities or opportunities to truly lead their web & mobile app developers.
Caprino is showing leaders that their daily challenges are “related in some core way to a lack of internal or external power that causes steady leaks in [their] confidence, vision, and authority” (K. Caprino). And those “leaks”, referred also as “power gaps” influence the way the leaders are self-fulfilled and build their careers more authoritatively and rewardingly.
Now, let’s move on to the specific “power gaps” modern leaders can experience internationally:
Kathy admits that leaders have the problem with defining their special abilities and professional talents if they’re asked to do so. They cannot show how they stand out from other experts and answer such a simple question.
The problem is that when you can’t express or talk about your own talent, success or professional accomplishments, you’ll have difficulties with leading people and effective monetization of finished, successful projects. You may feel blocked and even stop developing at work.
Do you sometimes feel that you can’t speak with confidence or you lack authority? Both women and men struggle with communicating abilities, and consequently requirements, in a clear way.
Lots of leaders struggle with achieving the balance between being modest and confident. We fear that people would say that we take all the credit from projects we managed or supported. It’s important that we learn to be assertive and express ourselves with power, not weakness and insecurity.
This second power gap prevents you from speaking with confidence about your achievements and successes. It makes it impossible for leaders to get real chances to find business opportunities, influence team(s) or simply grow.
Look at your competition – do they communicate fearfully? Or do they speak up with passion and power about their successes and future goals? It’s good to gain power from yourself and even be inspired by others’ powerful talks.
Do you know that you need a raise, promotion, grant but you’re blocked from communicating those issues? You’ve got a position but on the other hand you need to communicate such needs to your boss.
Leaders, according to Kathy C., have problems with self-realizing that they should ask for a raise or with figuring out when the right moment is to ask.
Do you feel like: “I can’t, as a CTO, create a professional network and connect with other leaders. I don’t need them. Besides, it’s awkward”?
K. Caprino presented new insights about power gaps – she broadened her focus on the perception of introverts and extroverts in a workplace. Since the beginning of 2018, over 90% of people joining coaching courses were self-describing as “introverted”.
They also believed that introversion is:
- a great gap as it is coldly perceived by others from work,
- a barrier in networking
- an obstacle in influencing and inspiring their teams
It occurs that many leaders – introverts and extroverts – find it difficult to network because it feels “fake” and uncomfortable to them. Kathy confesses that it is hard to network, and lead powerfully when you don’t believe and even like what you do – and maybe it stands behind the reluctance to network.
So, all you shy leaders, remember that you cannot give up on building a professional community. When you network, you can grow and meet new opportunities in business, expand your career and influence people.
To feel less introverted, try to focus on (at least) one aspect of your job that is exciting to you.
Do you witness some unbearable, intolerable behavior at work? If yes – say “no”.
Kathy also wrote about experiencing behaviors that can be named as “unethical” or simply unfair. It is widely known that everybody has witnessed something that was uncomfortable and made us feel unsafe and fearful. Many people, anonymously, admit that they have witnessed such behaviors at work at least once.
You, as the leader, surely have witnessed such power gaps: situations hard to handle and had some sleepless nights as a result. Remember, never ignore such behaviors – react. If you’re silent, frightened and powerless in facing some unethical situations – to you or to others – it’ll get worse and you’d feel like an accessory to a crime.
Do you ask yourself: “Am I satisfied as a leader? Am I fulfilled and happy here?”
According to Kathy, many leaders and professionals know perfectly well what they despise in their jobs and/or careers. The sixth power gap says that we’ve got difficulties in naming what is positive and what business goals we want to achieve.
If you work without saying what you want to achieve, what your biggest long-term goal is and no successes satisfy you – this should alert you to take time to focus on a positive, future vision.
You have to rethink your dream – does it sound exciting to you? Maybe your vision of success has changed? Try hard to find the power to change your attitude. Focusing on your aspirations and aims is quite a challenge. Try your best to stay professional on the path of leading and growing.
Do you go through life continually analyzing your past failures? Does it make you feel devastated and blocked from taking risk at business/ leading/growing? It’s time to get over it.
This final power gap is the most profound and important – it prevents leaders from developing and keeping healthy distance in their work. Some people can’t overcome past failures – they live by the past and can’t move forward.
These past failures or traumatic experiences, such as toxic relationships with colleagues/ bosses, disability to perform and express your ideas, being fired for no reason, etc., make even good leaders question their talents and position to motivate others.
People who dwell on traumatic events from their professional past tend to question every decision they make. It deepens the feeling of shame and insecurity, leading them to feel inferior to other influential leaders.
Remember one thing: sometimes failures are unavoidable. They happen to everybody. What’s truly powerful is the fact that you can learn from your past decisions and don’t repeat them to grow competence and self-esteem. Learn to treat mistakes as lessons necessary to expand your professional experience as a leader – you’ll be more understandable and inspiring.
Now after reading this post till the end, take some “gap-closing-steps”:
- Rethink those 7 gaps.
- Find (at least) one that describes your situation the most.
- Choose another one that makes you feel uncomfortable/ ashamed/ bad.
- Take small actions and steps to try to find power to close such gaps.
- Feel free to lead people without obstacles or gaps.
This article is a part of Handbook:Leading a Software Development Team: Guidebook for CTOs and Team Leaders
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