Leaders and teams are not machines – we do not function perfectly each day. We are impacted by both internal and external forces which can affect our performance, and giving our best can look vastly different because of it.

Personal performance at work is a complicated thing, and unfortunately most discussions devolve into ‘do your best – everyday’ without working out what causes our creates our performance, or even what our best is on a given day.

In particular, our ‘inner critic’ can have a huge impact on our leadership performance – a factor that the people around us have no insight or understanding of unless we discuss it clearly and openly . What we say to ourselves, and how we say it, has a huge impact on our performance – and we rarely let others know it.

If only the ‘inner critic’ (as well as the external critics) could have constructive conversations around this as well!

The inner critic – that annoying voice in your head that can spur you on to do more / harder things – can often only see that top marker point, telling yourself that anything shorter than that is a failure. It can be unrelenting for many, and have us feel that anything short of our best (good) is bad.

Our external critics seem to have an imaginary horizontal line that sits just under the top point – ruling anything above it as ‘good’ and anything below it as ‘bad’.


Does Your Inner Critic Cheer You On Or Pull You Down

It can be complicated to explain our best to ourselves, let alone others.

The variability in our best is accepted so much more readily from a trusting team; understanding that we can all have better days, particularly when it is communicated clearly. Unfortunately, not everyone works in a trusting team, and anything less than your best can be judged harshly (which might be why ‘quiet quitting is a thing?)


Leaders Developing Their Inner Critic

One way to train and develop the inner critic is not only to be aware of its existence, but also to create an intention for what you want to achieve and deliver each day – within realistic limits (a crucial factor). The second is to be kind to yourself and realise that your best can be different every day. The third is to share your thoughts and expectations with someone else – a role that an effective Executive Leadership Coach can play for your leadership development. Understanding what you say to yourself – and how to have it serve you rather than drag you down – can be an important understand for a leader.

What does your inner critic say about you? Does it spur you on or hold you back? Does it drive you for better performance or shame you for your mistakes? What can you do to take control of this?


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