Women Lead Best When They Are Unsure of Themselves

Most women feel that they need to be bold, decisive, and confident to lead well, especially when they feel how they lead is being scrutinized by men. On the outside, this appearance is important to convey. On the inside, women need to have the courage to feel unsure of themselves so they can make their best decisions and positively take the lead.A woman playfully covered her face with her handsNo matter how smart and experienced you are, your brain is narrow minded by nature. In order to define who you are and make sense of the world around you in an instant, your brain develops constructs and rules you live by. In the book, Thinking Fast and Slow, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman says we live our lives by cognitive illusions. Most people do not question their decisions before they act, even when they claim they thoroughly pondered the options.Often, you won’t even question yourself after you make mistakes, quickly finding external reasons for your plan not working as well as you had hoped. Neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga, author of Who’s in Charge: Free Will and the Science of the Brain, says we are constantly fooling ourselves into thinking we are acting consciously and willfully. Humans are master rationalizers regardless of the level of education achieved. Your confidence helps you to be a master at rationalizations!Can you avoid making regrettable mistakes?To think and act differently before you move forward, or resist doing something you later regret, you have to disturb the automatic processing in your brain. This is easier said than done. Even if you stopped reading this post so you could think about it, your private contemplation would not last for long. For the same reason you can’t tickle yourself, you can’t fully explore your own thoughts. Your brain resists self-imposed exploration.To find the sudden, new, and amazing solution to a problem you need to work with others! Even though you have had successes on your own and you believe you have to be self-reliant, you will make mistakes and enemies being The Lone Warrior.Your greatest asset is the friend or coach who will ask you the tough questions. This is how it works:[youtube height=“315” width=“560”]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4PhYEz_UY0&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]When someone you trust adeptly challenges your reasoning and asks you the powerful question that breaks down your protective frame, your brain is forced to reorder data in your long-term memory. For a moment, the breakdown feels awkward. You might feel a pinch of anger or sadness, but then you are just as likely to laugh at what you see…after you gasp. I call this moment The Discomfort Zone.This hole creates a moment of uncertainty that feels uncomfortable. It is this moment of uncertainty when you are most open to learning and acting differently from what you would habitually do. These realizations can help you avoid a crisis. These insights will provide you with more brilliant solutions.Yes, you might feel vulnerable allowing someone to probe your thoughts and the reasons you feel the way you do. But wouldn’t it be better to have someone poke holes in the frames of your brain before you make a bad decision? There needs to be a hole in the force field that protects your sense of reality before you will actively explore, examine, and change your beliefs and behavior.image002Let someone you trust challenge your assumptions and beliefs and surface the underlying fears, needs, and desires that are keeping you from taking on other possibilities. You might consider hiring a trained coach. Or you and your colleagues can learn how to question each other’s motivations and assumptions, trusting that whatever question you ask each other will help you think more deeply.To do this, you need to be comfortable with discomfort. How good are you at gracefully handling uncomfortable conversations? To find out, you can rate your Zone of Discomfort by taking this quiz.The best leaders, friends and colleagues make us feel unsure of ourselves. They know what to ask to help us see ourselves and the world around us in a new way. If you allow other people to help you examine your thinking, you might have fewer regrets and more successes.Don’t try to do it all yourself. You don’t have to make decisions on your own. Get help opening your mind to new possibilities so you can more confidently Take the Lead.