Your Background, Beliefs and Behavior

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We learn about life and leadership through exposure.  This exposure instills a belief system deep within us, which informs how we behave.  Early on it is our parents, teachers and coaches that lay the foundation for our values.  My father and mother showed me the importance of education.  It was my father’s uncle that preached the importance of gaining formal education.  This exposure was passed down to me as we talked about our lives during dinner.

Our background builds our beliefs, which then leads to our behavior.  Reflect on the top three people of influence in your life.  For me my thoughts immediately go to my father, a teacher and my first boss. I observed their values in action.  Each of them showed interest in learning and development.   These figures form the foundation of my background, which built my belief system.

Our beliefs can support our goals or actually work against us.  One of the beliefs my father instilled in me was the belief that I can become anything that I want to become.  Secondly, the belief that if I pursue what I am good at, positive outcomes can ensue.  I can still hear my father say “Go with what you are good at.” This has caused me to pursue my strengths in my career.

On the flip side, false beliefs can be debilitating. One of the common false beliefs I hear with leaders is that I must have all the answers.  This belief can be exhausting emotionally and can lead to a lack of humility.  A more empowering belief could be that being inquisitive will lead to solid answers.  Another false belief I hear with leaders centers around delegation.  My team cannot take anything else on or it is just easier to do this myself. Instead, my team can learn and develop through my delegation. What are some of the beliefs that are holding you back?

Our beliefs lead to our leadership behaviors.  If you believe that you must have all the answers, you will place pressure on yourself and may alienate your team by not inviting them into the process.  If however, you believe that we can find the answers together, you are more likely to be collaborative.

As you reflect on your leadership, how has your background informed your beliefs?  As you look at your beliefs, which ones are supporting your vision? What behaviors are working for you and which ones are not?  Tie your behaviors back to your beliefs for clarity.