In this episode of Ask Katrina, the question is:
Am I doing this right?
As corporate executive women, we deal with self-doubt on a regular basis. This self-doubt is due to a combination of forces but there are two that are critical: the pace of promotion and the work we put into getting into the executive seat.
When we think about pace, the unfortunate reality is that whether it’s fast or slow, we still have self-doubt.
If the pace is too slow, we ask ourselves why we couldn’t make it happen faster. (“What’s wrong with me?”)
Or, the pace is so fast that we feel like we weren’t quite ready for the next step and yet we were still promoted. (“Am I ready?”)
No matter the pace, when we reach the executive seat, the inherent question of “am I doing this right” plagues our brains.
This self-doubt is so common that I have a name for it, “execing correctly.”
“Am I execing correctly?”
That’s really what we’re asking when we say “Am I doing this right?”
Not only does this happen due to pace, but the self-doubt occurs due to the type and amount of work we put into getting into that executive seat.
We have spent much longer (9.8 years on average) getting into the executive seat vs. actually sitting in the seat.
The reality is that we know how to get to the seat better than we know how to sit in the seat so it’s natural for us to wonder if we are expecting correctly.
What is Execing Exactly?
Execing or “acting like an executive” is all about leading, not necessarily doing.
This is the biggest and most fundamental difference between the climbing years and the executive years of our careers.
The climb forced you to do the work and prove your worth/worthiness.
Upon arrival into the executive ranks, you’re now expected to think, act, speak, and engage like a leader. A leader of both people, thoughts, and strategies.
This shift is required for any executive to be successful in her role.
To that end, the thoughts of “I’m not strategic” or “I’m not innovative” must quickly go out the window as these are two primary responsibilities of an executive. Never mind the fact that we were never trained to “exec,” we were only trained to “do.”
I remember facing this frustration during my executive career.
I have a vivid and clear memory of an executive leader standing in front of the room, telling every level of leadership what their role was when it came to operational execution vs. strategy. It went from 0% strategy and 100% execution as an entry-level leader to over 50% strategy as a senior executive. And while the leader made it abundantly clear as to which roles were allowed/expected to act strategically, at no point did they define exactly how to learn what being a strategic leader meant or how to embody that leadership function.
No wonder we aren’t sure if we are doing it correctly!
If no one teaches you, how would you know until it’s too late?
How Do I Know if I’m Execing?
How do you know if you are execing correctly or “doing this right?”
The short answer is to look at your calendar, pick out an average week, and determine how you are spending your time.
Are you spending the majority of your time being a thought and people leader or are you spending the majority of your time being a doer?
This snapshot view will tell you if you’re on the right path or if you need a little extra support.
Now I know it doesn’t tell you if you’re doing the work correctly, only that you are allocating your time effectively.
But know this, the more time you dedicate to being a strategic leader, the more practice you will get, and the better you will become.
Unfortunately, the majority of new executives shy away from doing executive work because they don’t know how, aren’t sure they are doing it right, and feel much more comfortable being the “doer” instead of the “leader.”
Overwhelm sets in and we go back to what we know.
To exec correctly means to step out of that doer role and into the leader role.
If you want help determining if you are “doing this right” or “execing correctly,” schedule a 15-minute Execing Correctly Audit and walk away knowing not only how you’re doing, but learn 2-3 actions you can take to raise the bar on your performance.