Aké Satia is the Chief Vision Officer at Aké Satia, a Human Capital firm in the DC area focused on strengthening organizations by bolstering the intersection of people strategy and business strategy.



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Be the Leader!

Happy 4th of July!
Today, as we celebrate Independence in the United States, it is fitting to explore the concept of leadership!

In many organizations, leadership positions are highly desired roles!

And you may know someone who toiled and invested in attaining a desired leadership position only to achieve it and realize that the conquest did not offer the level of satisfaction they thought it would. And this often leads to a heart-wrenching journey filled with self-doubt, where one struggles to find the root of the problem. And during that time, one’s mind might be mired in despair, pondering questions like: Am I the problem? Or am I incompetent?, Or is the company the source of my unhappiness, Or do my leaders dislike me? And unfortunately, believing they are alone, they may choose to isolate themselves and suffer in silence. Perhaps you have been in that perplexing position. And if these feelings hit home, you can take solace in the reality that you are not alone!

Based on experience with people who hold leadership positions at various organizational levels, I have learned that many experience periods of self-doubt and question their worth at some point! And feeling unworthy, incompetent, and fearful is natural. Also, feeling inadequate sometimes and beaming with confidence at other times is a natural human tendency that applies to everyone, regardless of title. And given the impact that people in leadership positions have on the lives of others, helping them to overcome the sense of inadequacy is critical!

Now, if you are inclined to think that regaining a sense of confidence is a challenge that the impacted individual (or leader in this case) needs to tackle on their own, I would encourage you to consider a broader perspective. Because, yes, each person is responsible for handling their unique challenges. But knowing why your leader feels inadequate and minimizing the effects benefits all. Because when leaders feel incapable, it impedes their ability to lead. Furthermore, when others see their leaders endlessly striving in a state of despair, they might not aspire to leadership roles. And this can lead to a diminished pipeline of leaders in the future.

And a helpful place to start when solving an issue is knowing the cause. – In this case, understanding what causes a sense of inadequacy in leaders. And as tends to be the case with many human challenges, one size rarely fits all because each of us has unique experiences, struggles, and capabilities. But one thing we all have in common is a need for belonging – to feel heard, seen, and known. And people who hold leadership titles are humans like everyone else. And people treat others the way they feel. This awareness is critical because it allows us to see people separately from the problems they are experiencing. Indeed, appreciating that we are all human enables us to understand that someone might be experiencing a challenge, but they are not a problem. And this knowledge can evoke a sense of compassion and compel us to help others and lead as we seek to enable better outcomes for all.

Something to consider…

Next time you feel someone in a leadership role is not listening to you or is undermining your feelings, resist the tendency to conclude that they are a terrible person and an enemy. And consider that perhaps, the negative feelings and emotions driving their behavior have nothing to do with you. While this might be a high calling, it could also unveil an opportunity for you to be the leader by seeking to understand what they are experiencing and offering to help.

It’s worth remembering that leadership is not in a title. Leaders stand and speak up for the benefit of the whole.

For you and to you,




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