People skills for digital workers
22-23 Sept. 2014, The Barbican, London

How to lead without losing yourself

portrait of Laura Dietze

Laura Dietze (Germany)

We dream of being in charge, sitting in meetings making decisions and changing things. And at the same time we fear turning into one of “them”: the people we consider typical managers. When it’s time to lead, you’ll feel scared of losing your identity (and your peers) and insecure about your abilities. You may try to fly under the radar, mirroring other people’s behaviour to avoid drawing attention to yourself. In your attempts to avoid judgement you risk losing yourself. Leadership is lonely, and when everything you do seems fake, it’s tempting to run away.

Fight to stay you: find the courage to lead by making yourself vulnerable. As you open up to others, realise that they have similar challenges. Colleagues whose masks scared you at first will become peers. You’ll end up proud to be a leader.

Learn to lead as yourself:

  • Identify the values in the behaviours that are important to you, eg agile development or transparent communication.
  • Use the principle of “show don’t tell” to model the behaviours you want others to adopt.
  • Practise vulnerability and authenticity to signal that it’s safe to be yourself.

About Laura

Laura calls herself, “a girl with a social science degree standing her ground in the online business world.” She juggles old school management practices, technology-loving developers, business objectives, and user experience as Team Lead Product at AutoScout24 in Munich.

Who’s behind this?

At Together London we organise events about collaboration. We’ll make sure everyone at #dareconf has a safe and enjoyable experience. Reach us at or Together London.

Jonathan Kahn

Jonathan Kahn

David Caines

David Caines

branding and illustration
Rhiannan Walton

Rhiannan Walton