Beat Your Own Awesomeness, Lead by Doing

einstein-making-a-differenceFirst ask yourself, “Do I behave with high integrity?” The majority of us would respond that yes, we do.

Now ask yourself, “Do my colleagues share my same high level of integrity?” A far fewer number of people would agree that their colleagues and peers possess our own elevated level of integrity.

Why? Because we confuse our intention with our action. We can get intoxicated on how fabulous we are and confuse that with the actual impact we are making in the world. It’s the same reason 80% of executives believe their company creates a superior product in the marketplace, while only 8% of their own customers would agree. Or why 86% of MBA students believe they are better looking than their classmates. Or why almost all of us think we are better drivers than everyone else.

To overcome our own awesomeness, and to lead from a place of credibility, try these two tricks

First, Lead by Doing: If you ask the five people on your team, each individually, how much they each contributed to the last project, the total will be well over 100%. Because we all overestimate our own value. Get over yourself. You aren’t above doing the dishes, cleaning the sink, or taking out the trash. True, others around you have become better at managing projects, or generating marketing copy, or advising on the user experience…but by walking a mile in someone’s shoes you’ll learn quite a bit about the effort and value of everyone’s contribution.

Now, Only Do What Only You Can Do: Now that you know the reality of what it’s like to get the monthly newsletter out, or write 500 words of PR copy, you understand it isn’t a cakewalk. In a conversation with Lisa Vos of Melbourne Business School, she explained that the next key to developing oneself if to find our most compelling signal in the noise and to accentuate it. That is, in order to develop distinct value, we need to emphasis and develop that which only we can do with distinction.