I was initially hesitant to write this, but I realize I am not the only person to face this struggle. Sharing might just help someone else.
Impostor syndrome in an invisible force that erodes our confidence. It does not discriminate; anyone can feel like an impostor, regardless of their achievements or profession.
For me, these feelings intensify when billing customers:
- Did I deliver a good product?
- Will they be happy? Or upset?
- Will they think I am a fraud?
Such thoughts make us question our accomplishments. No matter the accolades or successes, those grappling with these feelings often credit their milestones to luck, perfect timing, or other external factors.
While occasional self-doubt is natural, especially when venturing into the unfamiliar, it can become problematic when it becomes a persistent voice in our heads.
If these sentiments sound familiar, consider the following strategies:
-Acknowledge and discuss It. Realizing and accepting these feelings, then understanding you are not unique in these experiences, can be freeing. Engaging in open conversations in supportive circles can shatter the illusion that everyone else finds success with ease.
Remember, you're not alone.
-Build a support network. Establish connections with trusted colleagues or mentors who resonate with your aspirations and challenges. Their insights can offer perspective and reaffirm your skills and achievements.
-Re-evaluate your thinking. Approach your thoughts rationally. Contemplate your accomplishments and, if it helps, write them down. Reflect on your dedication, hard work, and what you brought to the table during those successes.
You made success happen!
-Accept imperfections and failures. Perfection is a mirage. Recognize that setbacks are natural steppingstones. Embracing mistakes provides a fresh perspective, seeing them as learning experiences instead of judgments on your capabilities.
-Practice self-compassion. And finally, be kind to yourself. Extend the same understanding and compassion to yourself as you would to a friend. Recognize your flaws and setbacks as universal human experiences.
Overcoming impostor syndrome is a journey towards self-recognition, continuous growth, and embracing our flawed selves. It does not have to define you. By recognizing, understanding, and addressing these feelings, you can embrace your achievements and regain your self-confidence.
You've got this.
- Brian Townsend, Eagle 6 Training
Towards the end of my opioids/fentanyl presentation, I speak about the need for action and removal of silos. Law enforcement, prevention, treatment, recovery, medical, scientific –everyone keeps in their own lanes. I can recall my own frustrations when I was with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Some people refused to even take my call.
This needs to change. Drug poisonings cause 300 deaths a day. This is a national emergency and solutions will require a collaborative effort. We all want our voices heard, valued, and considered – but we are stronger and more effective when we unify and work together. We must tear down the walls, eliminate the silos, and work together.
Working together requires intentional effort, open communication, and often a change in culture. It is not only possible, but also imperative. We must do this.
We must establish clear and common goals. When everyone knows they are working towards the same objective, cooperation becomes a practical necessity.
We must learn what each other does in their effort to end drug poisonings. Each discipline offers a diverse perspective. “Walking in someone else’s shoes” can foster respect, empathy, and trust. This makes our collaborative efforts more effective and insightful and further strengthens our understanding that we all want the same outcomes.
We must talk to each other. Organize meetings, even social events. These environments can help break the ice and build personal connections, making future collaboration easier.
We must listen. Share your thoughts. Be transparent. When we do not agree, openly and constructively discuss these disagreements. Always remember we are working towards the same goals.
We must adapt. What works for one organization or community may not work for another. Continuous improvement is key.
To the leaders in each perspective organization or discipline – collaboration often starts at the top. Leaders should set the example by participating in collaborative efforts and breaking down any hierarchical barriers that may exist in communication or decision-making. They should also actively address any "us versus them" mentality if it arises.
By embracing these strategies and mindset, we can break down the walls that keep people and ideas isolated. It's a continual process that requires effort, patience, and commitment from everyone involved.
I will continue to work with anyone and everyone. My journey from law enforcement to training, prevention, and awareness has opened many doors, partnerships, and friendships. I believe in what we are doing.
I know not everyone will take my call, but the work is too important.
We must do this.
- Brian Townsend, Eagle 6 Training
Accountability is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean, and why is it so important?
At its core, accountability is the act of taking responsibility for one's actions, decisions, and their consequences. It is about being answerable for your choices, whether they lead to success or failure.
Accountability begins with self-awareness. It's about recognizing that our choices have an impact, not only on ourselves but also on those around us. By acknowledging our actions and decisions, we can begin to understand the power we hold to shape our own destiny.
Accountability is not about blame; it's about ownership. It's about saying, "I am responsible for the choices I make, and I will take the necessary steps to rectify any mistakes."
One of the most significant ways that accountability contributes to personal growth is by helping us learn from our mistakes. When we admit our errors and take responsibility for them, we open the door to self-improvement. We can analyze what went wrong, why it happened, and how to avoid similar pitfalls in the future.
Accountability builds trust in ourselves and with others. When people see that we consistently own up to our actions, they are more likely to trust us. Trust is a cornerstone of healthy relationships, both personal and professional.
Being accountable to ourselves means setting clear goals and holding ourselves responsible for achieving them. Whether it's fitness goals, career aspirations, or personal development objectives, accountability keeps us on track and motivated.
In a professional context, accountability is crucial for individual and organizational success. When employees take ownership of their tasks and responsibilities, it leads to increased productivity, better teamwork, and a positive work environment.
Effective leaders are accountable for their actions and decisions. They set the example for their teams, fostering a culture of accountability throughout the organization. This not only improves employee morale but also enhances the company's reputation.
Accountability encourages problem-solving rather than finger-pointing. When issues arise in the workplace, accountable individuals focus on finding solutions rather than blaming others. This leads to quicker resolutions and a more efficient work environment.
Now that we understand the importance of accountability and how it fosters personal and professional growth, consider these suggestions to make it a part of our journey:
Self-Reflection: Regularly take the time to reflect on your actions and decisions. Ask yourself whether you've been accountable and what you could do better.
Goal Setting: Set clear, achievable goals for both your personal and professional life. These goals will serve as a benchmark for your accountability.
Constructive Feedback: Seek feedback from trusted friends, family members, or colleagues. They can provide valuable insights into areas where you might need to be more accountable.
Accept Responsibility: When you make a mistake, acknowledge it promptly. Apologize if necessary and take action to correct the situation or behavior as quickly as possible. Don't walk away and expect that no one noticed. Accepting responsibility shows the highest level of professionalism.
Accountability Partners: Find an accountability partner or mentor who can help you stay on track with your goals and hold you responsible for your commitments.
Accountability is not just a buzzword; it's a fundamental principle that can transform our lives for the better. Whether we apply it to our personal journeys or our professional endeavors, embracing accountability leads to growth, trust, and a greater sense of fulfillment. By taking ownership of our actions and decisions, we unlock the potential to become the best version of ourselves, both personally and professionally.
Make a commitment to accountability and watch as it becomes the driving force behind your success and happiness.
- Brian Townsend, Eagle 6 Training
During recent leadership training, I shared stories with the class about a bad manager I worked for. I was fortunate enough to work for many more good bosses then bad, but my agency was not unique in its problems. Most aren’t!
This particularly bad manager, and the focus of this article, is one we would identify as the “snake.” Unfortunately, I worked for a few, but this one was dangerous.
These managers do not wear their intentions on their sleeves. Like snakes, they blend into their surroundings while concealing their true motives. They are manipulative, and dealing with them can be a challenge as their actions often undermine team dynamics and morale, hinder productivity, initiative, innovation, and erode trust.
These managers often excel in interpersonal skills. They project a charming facade to gain trust and build relationships, all the while concealing their ulterior motives and insecurities. This charm can make it difficult to recognize their true intentions until it is too late. Like a fearful snake, they have the potential to strike when you least expect it. Quite simply – they are nice to your face, and it is only when you turn your back that you feel the knife.
These managers thrive on ambiguity and secrecy and control information flow within the team. They share only what is beneficial to them, keeping their team members in the dark about critical matters. This tactic grants them power and control over decision-making processes.
They frequently “play favorites.” By aligning themselves with certain team members, they create divisions and sow discord among the team, weaking unity, collaboration, and overall morale.
Snakes undermine the skills and abilities of their team members. By belittling others or downplaying team achievements, they aim to create dependency and establish their own indispensability.
Snakes not only poison the work environment and negatively impact employee well-being, productivity, and overall job satisfaction, but are toxic and dangerous to the entire organization. It is essential to recognize their manipulative traits, understand their potential consequences, and take proactive steps to address these challenges.
Consider the following suggestions to effectively deal with this type of manger:
Watch for inconsistencies. The more you begin to understand this type of manager, these inconsistencies often reveal hidden agendas at play. Pay attention!
Have open lines of communication and seek clarification on decisions and actions. This should make it harder for them to spread misinformation.
Let your work speak for itself. Hard work will be recognized by your colleagues. By consistently delivering quality results, you demonstrate your value to the team and make it harder for manipulative manager to undermine your competence.
Build relationships with colleagues who might be experiencing similar issues. A united front can help in countering the divisive tactics employed by manipulative managers. It always helps to have a friend.
These managers can be emotionally draining, so make sure you prioritize self-care activities that help you manage stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Dealing with manipulative managers requires a combination of vigilance, strategic thinking, and maintaining your professionalism. Staying aware and empowered is key to overcoming the challenges posed by them. By recognizing the signs, implementing effective strategies, and focusing on your own growth and performance, you can navigate the challenges posed by such individuals while safeguarding your own career and well-being.
Remember, it's not about stooping to their level, but about rising above their tactics with integrity and resilience.
- Brian Townsend, Eagle 6 Training
I conduct a leadership class where I facilitate a discussion on leadership traits and why they matter. I have done this countless times, with countless people. Each class comes up with several traits such as authenticity, empathy, positivity, resilience, humility. The qualities are always similar.
When we discuss why it matters, I can think of no better example than Ted Lasso, the successful and heartwarming Apple TV series that celebrates the transformative power of positive leadership. Ted Lasso, played by the talented Jason Sudeikis, stands out as a refreshing and inspiring character that captivates audiences with his unique approach to leadership. He is a beacon of hope and a model of effective leadership in the modern world full of cynicism.
We needed Ted.
As we navigate our own leadership journeys, the lessons learned from Ted Lasso can serve as a guiding light. He offers valuable lessons that transcend the fictional realm, demonstrating how a genuine and empathetic leader can transform individuals, teams, and even entire organizations. He teaches us how leaders can influence and transform lives. In other words, the profound impact that leadership has and why it matters.
Let’s look at the previous qualities I listed above, which I often hear in my training, and what we can learn from Ted Lasso to influence others and transform our own lives:
Authenticity and Empathy: One of the defining qualities of Ted Lasso's leadership style is his authenticity and genuine care for others. He approaches every interaction with empathy and seeks to understand the individuals he works with on a personal level. By taking the time to connect with his players and staff, Ted fosters a sense of trust and creates an environment where everyone feels valued. This highlights the importance of recognizing the humanity in others and the power of genuine connections in building strong teams.
Positive Reinforcement: Ted Lasso is a master of positive reinforcement. Instead of resorting to fear or criticism, he motivates his players by focusing on their strengths, highlighting their achievements, and building their confidence. By creating an environment that encourages growth and fosters a positive mindset, Ted empowers his team members to believe in themselves and reach their full potential. This teaches us the significance of providing constructive feedback and recognizing the efforts of those we lead.
Resilience and Optimism: In the face of adversity, Ted Lasso maintains an unwavering optimism and resilience. He faces challenges head-on with a smile on his face and encourages his team to do the same. By setting an example of unwavering positivity, he inspires his players to overcome their own obstacles and believe in the power of teamwork. Ted teaches us that leadership involves remaining steadfast during tough times and cultivating a positive environment that fuels determination and perseverance.
Team Building and Collaboration: Ted Lasso recognizes that the strength of a team lies not only in individual talent but also in collaboration and camaraderie. He emphasizes the importance of unity and encourages his players to support and uplift one another. Ted fosters an inclusive team culture – a psychological safe environment - where every member feels heard and valued, regardless of their role or abilities. This highlights the significance of building strong relationships within a team, as collective success often stems from a shared sense of purpose.
Humility and Continuous Learning: Despite being an outsider in the soccer world, Ted Lasso approaches his coaching role with humility and a willingness to learn. He acknowledges that he doesn't have all the answers and actively seeks feedback and advice from others. By embracing a growth mindset, Ted inspires his team to embrace learning opportunities and continuously improve. This teaches us that true leaders are not afraid to admit their limitations and are open to acquiring new knowledge and perspectives.
Through the charismatic and uplifting character of Ted Lasso, the series offers us a beautiful and profound exploration of leadership. By embodying qualities such as authenticity, empathy, positivity, resilience, collaboration, and humility, Ted Lasso demonstrates that leadership is about positively impacting the lives of those around us.
Let me say that again: Leadership is about positively impacting the lives of those around us.
And by leading with compassion, understanding, and unwavering optimism, we have the power to transform individuals, teams, and even ourselves.
For the present as well as the future Ted-fanatics out there: Be a goldfish.
- Brian Townsend, Eagle 6 Training