To facilitate your growth as a leader, it’s important that you get out of your comfort zone. Seek out different ways of relating to yourself, others, and your world.
It seems like nearly everyone wants to be a better leader, and everyone else is offering advice. Instead of just learning new ideas, try to find new experiences that will enhance your leadership development.
Before you start, do your homework:
- Take inventory of your latest achievements, your habits, your fears, your communication style, your current goals, and your leadership strengths.
- Seek professional feedback from colleagues or members of your team.
- Compare your version with theirs.
- Pinpoint any discrepancies. For example, if you think you communicate with clarity but others disagree, mark this as an area for growth.
- After identifying a few growth areas, select specific ways you can risk more in each arena.
Ideas for Action
Starting with a custom self-assessment means everyone will have different areas to invest in, but here are a few examples of how you might address growth needs:
Do you micromanage? Select a group fitness class—like yoga or spin—where you must rely on an instructor’s cues. Go to a different instructor’s class every day for a week. Find ones that empower you to move at your own pace while ensuring you don’t get left behind. Notice their patience with you. Study their approach, and then apply what you learn the next time you hand off an assignment to a colleague.
Do you communicate poorly? Maybe you choose your words carefully and craft sentences with grace but fail to actively listen to others’ responses. Perhaps you fail to speak when the moment arises because you don’t want to say the wrong thing at the right time. Maybe you want to channel more of your personality into your leadership style. If you resonate with these examples, sign up for improv classes to learn how to go with the flow, speak up, listen closely, and risk unplanned responses.
Is your perspective holding you back? It’s time to move beyond your current circles and invest in people who think and act differently than you. You can approach this from many angles, depending on what you need most. If you want to shift your perspective on a professional level, attend conferences by yourself and connect with people you do not know. Ask them tough questions, swap stories, and risk vulnerability by turning small talk meaningful.
You may need to literally see things from a different vantage point, so take up hiking or trail running or rock climbing. Use your paid time off to volunteer in your community or travel internationally so you can explore customs not your own.
These acts of courage may make you feel insecure at first. If they don’t, you’re not really risking anything of value as a leader or person.
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