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Is perfectionism holding your team back from taking the lead?

Many qualified people avoid becoming leaders because they are too worried about how they will be perceived, according to research from the University of Michigan.

Fear of being seen as unqualified, bossy and different, were the top cited anxieties.

These fears have real negative consequences.

They determine whether your team will step up and lead in a given situation.


When you don’t think of yourself as a leader, you are less likely to act like like one.

🚀 To help your team tackle their fears and take the lead:

1️⃣ Share the idea that leaders are not born, they are made. Anyone can be a leader if they put in the focus and effort.

2️⃣ Partner with team members to identify their strengths and weaknesses and co-create a roadmap to raising their leadership abilities.

3️⃣ When anxiety reigns high, start with low-stakes leadership opportunities for team members to build their confidence.

What would you add?

📚 References

Lee Cunningham, J., Sonday, L. and Ashford, S.J. (2022). Do I Dare? The Psychodynamics of Anticipated Image Risk, Leader Identity Endorsement, and Leader Emergence. Academy of Management Journal.

Day, D.V. and Sin, H.-P. (2011). Longitudinal tests of an integrative model of leader development: Charting and understanding developmental trajectories. The Leadership Quarterly, 22(3), pp.545–560.

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