“Growth demands the temporary surrender of security.” – Gail Sheehy
Last week’s blog centered around some ideas for kick-starting growth in your business. Someone mentioned to me that a lot of the ideas mentioned apply to a leader’s personal growth as well. That’s true. So here’s the sequel to last week’s post, from that slightly different perspective.
To get your brain started, think about the behaviors of a great leader. If you know someone you believe to be a great leader, think about what they do that makes them great. It could be things like developing and communicating a clear vision, or coaching their people, or life balance, or any number of other things. Don’t focus on personality traits. Focus on actions.
Now think about your organization. What challenges and opportunities will your organization face over the next 3-5 years? Maybe your industry is changing, maybe technology is becoming a major issue, maybe competition is increasing/decreasing, whatever. When you think about those challenges and opportunities, think about this: What will the leader have to provide for your organization to succeed?
Here’s the hard part. Time for some self-evaluation. How do you rate when it comes to those key behaviors? Are you ready to provide what’s needed? Be honest. If you think your organization’s leader of the future has to be innovative and bring creativity and new ideas, are you ready to do that? You’re not doing yourself any favors by sugar-coating things. In fact, you’re setting yourself up for failure (and a lot of stress) if you don’t honestly evaluate yourself now. What are you missing?
The good news is you can get better. Some people like to say leadership is inherent – either you’re born with it or you’re not. Most of the time, that’s just an excuse to not work at getting better. It’s true that like anything else, some people may have more natural ability than others, but it’s absolutely false that you can’t improve yourself as a leader. For example, if you think the leader or your business needs to be creative & innovative, and you struggle to come up with new ideas, surround yourself with creative people. Whether it’s actually bringing someone with that skill set into the organization, or whether it’s finding a peer network that can help, you can do something to get better.
Growing as a leader can be scary. You have to go out on a limb, and you might fail. But if you don’t grow, you will fail. Start preparing yourself now to lead your organization tomorrow.