It seems as if everyone is talking about growing as a leader this week. The leader’s personal growth has been a topic within the last few days on several blogs I frequently visit. I find it very interesting that so many are discussing this idea.
Here is something that I’ve discovered to be very true, even though it sounds overly simple: It takes effort to grow. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true. If you want to grow as a leader, you have to put in some effort. A lot of effort. Otherwise you’ll drift down the stream of complacency, opposite of the direction you want to go.
I’ve identified over a dozen different observations about personal growth. So, instead of overwhelming you with all of them at once, I’ll post a few at a time, over the next couple of weeks.
Here are the first five ideas to help you lay the foundation for personal growth in your life.
Start with yourself.
You can’t lead others to a place you’ve never been. In order to lead effectively, you have to take the time to invest in your own growth. Jesus even alluded to this when he stated the greatest commandment and then the second: “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). We are able to best lead others when our own needs are met. We can then serve from a position of abundance, and not from a position of scarcity.
Believe in yourself.
Ask yourself: Do I believe that I have the potential for growth and the ability to do something about it? This does not mean excessive arrogance; know your limitations. But having a healthy self-confidence will go a long way to improving your leadership abilities. Henry Ford is credited with saying, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right.” If you don’t believe in yourself, you’ll be less likely to influence others or to make tough decisions.
Let go of excuses.
What are you waiting for? You won’t grow as a leader as long as you are spouting excuses. I’m waiting for the right opportunity. I’m waiting for permission. I’m waiting for something to change. I’m waiting for tomorrow. Stop waiting. Stop making excuses. Take charge of your personal growth. And do it now. As John Maxwell says, “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”
Surround yourself with growth.
Live in an environment that inspires growth. Surround yourself with people who challenge you and who encourage you. Read books that help you grow, listen to CDs and podcasts, subscribe to blogs, and participate in discussion forums. Intentionally place yourself in an environment where you can grow. Because unless you try to do something more that what you’ve already mastered, you will never grow.
Do something to help you grow every day.
Although closely related to the previous idea, this thought stands on its own. Successful leadership is a lifetime pursuit. If you want to become adept at something, anything, you have to apply it consistently, repetitively, daily. Make it a habit to pursue growth in this area every day. That may be accomplished by reading an article or a chapter in a book, or listening to a podcast. But it also can be accomplished by getting out and practicing what you’ve already learned. Experience is a great teacher.
What would you add to this list? What areas are foundational to growth as a leader?