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Challenging your own beliefs as a leader

By Jack Hawkes  

I recently completed a training course and was reminded of a reality: the human brain is full of a whole range of beliefs.

Each one of those beliefs has been created through our experiences in life: some are good, some great and unfortunately some are just a waste of brain space.

The challenge is to identify those space fillers that are holding us back, because if you are in a leadership role, they are not only holding you back, they are holding the team back as well.

Here’s one of my least favourite negative belief’s that I have heard a couple of times in slightly different forms recently:

“My team have a job to do, they get paid well, I can’t believe how negative they are.”

This belief has its origins in the concept of “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work”, with an overlap of the belief that it is wrong to talk about money.

So, here’s my take on getting past it into a better place:


An employee complaining about their rate of pay is focused on their fundamental needs and cannot readily hear or see any development opportunities that may be around them.

When you are in the leadership role, you are a great place to change their focus through having a questioning conversation with the individual. But this clearly requires you to believe it’s ok to talk about money.

Reward without cash

The way you can take the conversation away from the cash, is to find meaningful ways to reward your team as individuals: meaningful to them. This means being curious about the motivations of the individuals in your team – they are unique, your job is to find out how and work with their uniqueness. 

A listening conversation to hear what’s important to them and why will give you the insights to reward without needing to reach for the credit card.  

Welcome to 2018+ 

Leaders can understand that the world of work has changed since they commenced their careers, especially those of us who count their career in decades rather than months. What’s missing from a workplace that everyone is looking for? Purpose!

If you can align your conversations with your team and the individuals to purpose, especially a purpose they tell you are important to them, then you will give more than you knew they had.  

Leadership is about getting the best out of people in terms of performance. The best leaders give to get that extra level of performance because they give to get. 

In my experience, the leaders that do best are the ones that are challenged from the outside (behaviours) to reframe what’s on the inside (beliefs).

I call it leadership coaching.

Always happy to talk to new people about what it may do to improve their performance.