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  • Writer's pictureAli McNab

Playing to your Strengths in a New Role

Are you stepping into a more senior role?

When I work with clients who are moving to a position of greater leadership - from doer to strategist - I often witness their inner-saboteur going wild as they experience a lack of clarity and self-belief over what value they bring to their new role. Questioning their ability to do the job well; imposter syndrome kicks in and they feel anxious about getting found out!

Used to being experts in their field, excelling at what they do and able to tangibly identify and demonstrate their added value in terms of direct outputs and outcomes, they now find themselves overseeing the doers and the processes and feeling removed from the operations. They find it difficult to grasp and articulate what they do or bring to the role, struggling to directly link their day to day actions to wider goals and objectives.

Previous peers are now their reports, and those they looked to for accountability and decision making are now their peer group. They feel new to this “leadership” game while others around them appear to have it nailed.

Add into this mix personal responsibilities and commitments, life balance and remote working (with all it’s wobbly boundaries); their internal imposter shouts even louder, heightening anxiety and further knocking self-belief and confidence.

Does this sound familiar?

What would happen if you stopped concentrating on what you think you can’t do and started focusing instead on what you are already good at. Your inherent strengths.

What is it about you that has landed you in the position? (No, the answer is NOT “I was in the right place at the right time” or “there was no one else to fill the position”). You made this happen on your own merit, because of who you are, not because of who they want you to be.

We so often overlook our inherent strengths that make us who we are, our positive qualities and traits. They come naturally to us because they sit so well with our values and beliefs, so we don’t always see them as strengths. Once we identify and realise these personal strengths, and the power they hold, we can nurture, grow and play to them to help us excel and thrive.

Learning how you can build your existing strengths is far healthier for your emotional well-being, productivity and energy than trying to “fix” your flaws - and with the self-belief and confidence this brings you can turn a more positive focus to where you want to develop and grow as an authentic and inspiring leader that others can trust and believe in.

To help identify your personal strengths ask yourself:

  • What do you most like about yourself?

  • What are you proud of in your life?

  • What comes naturally to you?

  • How do you want others to feel in your presence?

  • What would your 3 closest friends or family say are you positive traits?

  • What do you get complimented on most?

  • What 3 things would you least want to change about yourself?

  • What traits have helped you to overcome challenges in the past?

Step back and reflect on the overarching themes and strengths coming out from your answers.

Think about how these could support you as you grow in your role. Notice where these have already served you well.

Now create some actions to help you bring this to life:

  • What 3 things could you do more of to utilise these strengths in your role?

  • What might you do less of that hinders the demonstration of these strengths?

  • What 3 things would you like to continue doing just as you are?

Ali McNab is a Transformational Coach helping people who feel frustrated or stuck in some aspect of their life to explore and be their best selves. As well as working directly with individuals, Ali works with charities and social purpose organisations supporting their approaches to staff well-being and growth.


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