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Leadership in doubt: Am I really in the right place?

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

“I don’t know,” he sighs, “am I really in the right place?”

In front of me sits a leader who, after years of dedication to his organization, has been asked to take on a role in senior management.

“Is this really where I belong? Will this chair make me happy? What is actually expected of me in this new role?”

I can see that doubt is clouding his perspective on this new opportunity. It is not uncommon for leaders who have just been promoted to a higher position to doubt and question. It is not unusual to wonder if you are truly ready for this challenge and career change. The uncertainty of new leadership

The transition to a higher leadership role often brings a sense of uncertainty. You may have the technical skills and experience, but now you must also shoulder the responsibility for strategic decisions and leading teams. It can feel like you’re being thrown into the deep end without a clear map of the territory.

Shaping your Leadership Identity

One of the first steps in dealing with this uncertainty is defining your leadership identity. Who do you want to be as a leader? What are your strengths and values? It can help to use an archetype or an image to describe yourself. Are you more of a conductor, a playful spirit, or a visionary? This image can help you not only “do” your new role but, more importantly, “be” who you want to be as a leader.

Seeing the bigger picture

Another important step is to look at the bigger picture. What do you want to achieve with your organization? Where are the opportunities for growth? What levers can you use to have a significant impact with relatively little effort? By thinking strategically and focusing on the long term, you can see more clearly how to lead your organization to success.

Strategic time for yourself

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operational tasks of your new role. That’s why it’s essential to schedule at least 2 hours of strategic time for yourself every week. Use this time to reflect on the 3-5 strategic projects you want to initiate to grow your organization. Hold yourself accountable and track progress: what are the results from the past week? This process helps you stay focused and on course, even in times of doubt.

Leadership is a journey, and doubts and uncertainties are part of it. But with the right focus on your leadership identity, a strategic approach, and regular self-reflection, you can confidently face the challenges of your new role.

So, are you in the right chair? My advice would be: own your chair and lead your organization to new heights. Over time, you won't need to ask yourself that question anymore ;)

If you're still unsure how to approach it or want more clarity on your leadership identity, feel free to send me an email at, and we can schedule a virtual coffee chat!

Foto door via Freepik


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