How Do Leaders Grow?

Leadership is influence. Leadership is serving. Leadership is power. Leadership is _____________. Go ahead – fill in the blank.

What you feel leadership is today will evolve as you grow as a leader. As a leader, you have and will encounter an enormous range of experiences that shapes your definition of leadership. Through your journey as a leader, you will find that leadership is simply the tool used to empower your team to succeed.

The best leaders view leadership as a process of growth rather than a status. Think about where you were six months ago as a leader. How have you grown? Where do you still need to grow? Which area are you most scared to grow? Let’s take a look at these three questions:

How Have You Grown?

We all grow as leaders. We rise to meet the challenges of leading our organizations and teams. Growth makes us feel successful. It builds trust and confidence throughout the people we serve. Growth builds momentum and can become contagious. Your leadership growth can be used to measure your success as a leader. In short, leadership growth is almost always a good thing!

Where Do You Still Need to Grow?

Everyone has areas in their leadership that needs to grow. An effective way to grow as a leader is to focus on one area of your leadership at a time. Once you have improved that area, then you can choose another area to develop.

A mistake many leaders make is choosing an area that would selfishly support their own view of their leadership. Before you pick an area to grow, take a step back and look at the needs of your organization or team. What do they need for you to grow in as a leader? Leadership is never only about you as a leader.

An example of this is a leader who wants to work on making better decisions. They can learn new decision making strategies, change how meetings are run, and reduce the amount of time before a decision is made. However, the team doesn’t need the leader to improve their decision making skills as much as they want the leader to improve the clarity and consistency of their communication.

Choose the area of leadership growth based on the needs of your organization – not on your own personal perspective of your needs.

Which area are you most scared to grow?

My wife is amazing. She speaks the truth, challenges me to grow, and is not afraid to go there with me if needed. Recently, she asked me to do something and I kept procrastinating until it turned into an argument. I ended up jumping in the truck and going for a drive when she spoke the truth that I was avoiding:

“You don’t want to change even though you know this is the area you need to change the most.”

I didn’t want to change. I was scared because it was an area that I failed in so many times. I tried to think through how it would end-up and every single story ended in failure.

Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey wrote about the challenge of leadership development in their book Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization. We all want to feel safe as a leader, so we hide from those things that could threaten our view of leadership.

I began to think about how my own desire to feel safe wasn’t as important as doing what my wife was asking me to do. I needed to be the leader in my family, even if I was scared to grow in that specific area my wife knew I need to grow.

So I did it. I did what my wife asked and it ended up well. It made my family stronger and made me a better leader of my family. Often times the area which we are most scared to grow is the one that will help us to grow the most.

Leaders grow best when they have someone to guide them through the process. If you don’t have a leadership coach, you need one to intentionally improve your leadership. Contact Empower Consulting at jeff@empower.consulting to schedule a meeting.