Tuesday, January 19, 2016
by Robyn Hatcher
About two years ago the phrase “Fake it till you make it” set something off in me. Of course I had heard the phrase many times and it had always bugged me, but all of a sudden I knew why. Who on earth wants to think of themselves as a fake? Who wants to do business with a fake? I immediately came up with a replacement expression for FITYMI: Own it While You Hone it. This phrase acknowledges that you have the skill, talent, quality that you're "faking," You just might not have stepped into it yet.
I recently read a fascinating book by Dr. Srinivasan Pillay, "Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders". (FT Press, 2011) In it I came across a Neuroscience explanation that supports my retooling of the “Fake it” phrase. In Your Brain and Business. Dr. Pillay talks about the Imposter Syndrome. A syndrome that happens to some (I suspect MOST) successful people.
For the past five years I've been leading a four- session training course aimed at helping newly appointed leaders in a government agency develop effective leadership skills. I cover communication styles, giving and receiving feedback, time-management and people management.
During one recent session, participants mentioned how often their direct reports come to them in crises wanting to be told what to do. Now this is a city agency that is completely overworked and understaffed. Not to mention, the decisions made are sometimes a matter of life and death. So when direct reports came to the new leaders for help, they usually told them what to do and in some cases did it for them. Even though doing so was frustrating and distracting, the new leaders felt that “helping” their direct reports saved time and avoided trouble. But does it really? Or does it create dependent workers who don't learn to think for themselves and don't learn to trust their own decisions?