Time check–are you still qualified to lead?

There's a lot shifting in the industry, join Personal Coach Amber Setter and Eve Lewis, CEO of BrandHuman for a leadership gut check.

Shelly Weaver
Shelly Weaver
August 11, 2022
min read
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As the world reopens, it's time for every leader to reflect and ask themselves: have I been bringing unresolved personal issues to work in a way that’s inhibiting my team? 

To help marketing leaders everywhere take a breather and consider how their personal and work lives are connected, we spoke to two experts on coaching leadership—Amber Setter, PCC and Personal Coach, and Eve Lewis, CEO of BrandHuman.

Their advice? You should bring your whole self to work. But you may have to work on it first.

This time taught us that there’s no separation

One of the greatest twists of pandemic life was it invited us all into each others’ personal lives. Children ran freely in the background of calls, pets leapt on keyboards, and everyone got a well-deserved pass doing double duty caring for others while working. 

But according to Eve Lewis, the “personal-professional” divide has always been a charade, and we should welcome its demise.

“We bring our experiences, perspectives, and sentiments into every environment, no matter where,” she says. “That’s what gives each of us our unique point of view. It informs how we express ourselves and how we see our value. But this becomes a problem when people don’t realize there’s a connection.” 

Great leaders practice presence, acknowledge the importance of evolving. - Eve Lewis, CEO of BrandHuman

For example, marketing leaders who can only find time to work after dinner leave their direct reports wondering whether they’re also supposed to respond after hours. Or leaders who secretly expect others to work as hard as they do, and who feel not-so-quietly judgmental of employees’ well-deserved mental health breaks. Or leaders who assume that the support they’d want to receive, such as “acts of service,” is the support others would like to receive.

“Great leaders practice presence, acknowledge the importance of evolving, and realize that working on their team starts with working on themselves,” says Eve. “They’re aware of how they’re perceived and how they impact others.” If you don’t develop this awareness, you can’t grow. Your personal collection of minor workplace dysfunctions (we all have them!) can follow you and curtail your career. Because while you may not realize it, most of your colleagues are well aware, and it’s time to address them. 

“I see it time and time again in my coaching practice,” says Amber Setter, PCC. “If you change your environment without addressing the underlying issues, the underlying issues follow you. Or as the adage goes, ‘Wherever you go, there you are.’”

If you change your environment without addressing the underlying issues, the underlying issues follow you. - Amber Setter, PCC

So how can you develop greater awareness?

It all begins with the question, how am I impacting others? And then being genuinely eager to find an answer and solicit feedback, direct or indirect. Colleagues or employees won’t always feel comfortable volunteering this information, so you may have to ask in roundabout ways, possibly through others. Just be ready—you may not like what you receive. But maybe that’s also why it’s important to hear.

Eve also recommends this list of questions: 

  • Are you aware of your impact on others? 
  • How do you perceive your value?
  • How would others say they perceive your value? 
  • Are these things consistent? 
  • Do they match the person you wish to be?
  • Can you audit all points of your team communication? 
  • How can you practice being more present, and not always reacting? 

There’s no perfect path here, or even being perfect (none of us are). This is work. But the people who are asking this of themselves are better able to understand, coach, grow, attract, and retain strong marketers—and by virtue of that, craft strong marketing teams. 

Are you still qualified to lead? It’s a question only the most qualified are asking.

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