4 Essentials to Growing into Great Leadership
The leader you are today can only take you places you’ve been.
Becoming the leader you hope to become requires growth. Growth requires change.
4 essentials to growing into great leadership:
- Books you read.
- Relationships and conversations you have.
- The story you tell yourself about the circumstances you’re in.
- Stretch opportunities that challenge the way you perceive the world and yourself.
Reading about leadership is a necessary beginning. Harry S. Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” But it’s only a beginning.
You can’t read your way into great leadership.
We grow when we do things we haven’t done before. The key word is ‘do’. You can’t think your way into great leadership. You can’t dream your way into great leadership. You can only behave your way into great leadership.
Feedback from people who watch your performance is the mirror that ignites transformation.
Growth begins when you see yourself through the eyes of those you serve.
Surprisingly, good intentions aren’t the answer to leadership effectiveness. Good intentions are about you. Impact is about others. Feedback helps you see if your good intentions have the impact you intend.
Leaders end up stuck apart from careful reflection on their behaviors. But it’s hard to see yourself clearly.
We have the capacity to repeat ineffective behaviors in the hope they will start working if we only try harder. Grit in a bad thing lampoons your growth.
Reflecting on your performance translates new leadership practices into leadership development.
Seek specific feedback by exploring the impact of your good intentions.
You might say, “I intended to encourage the team today. Ask:
- What did you see me doing that encouraged the team?
- What did you see me doing that drained the team’s energy?
- How might I better encourage the team?
What has helped you grow into an effective leader?
How might leaders seek feedback without seeming needy or insecure?
I often tell people you need good Mirrors in life and business. A good Mirror needs three characteristics:
1. Personal knowledge of these situations
2. Concern and interest in what happens to you in general
3. Not biased, independent. This excludes family, spouses etc.
It is hard but critical to find good Mirrors.
Thanks Brad. Very useful insights. Your exclusion of family, for example, is important. Some people aren’t good mirrors because they are too kind or they just don’t see things clearly or they have an agenda. 🙂
I would also add: “You can’t talk your way into great leadership.” We’ve all heard people talk it, but never walk it.
Thanks Kris. You nailed it.!
For me it is finding what makes me uncomfortable, and immersing myself in it. So much that it no longer is a fear. Then do the whole process again. Continually seeking discomfort.
Thanks Josh. I respect your passion and commitments. We probably spend too much time seeking comfortable situations and not enough seeking uncomfortable.
The only thing that helped me to become an exceptional leader of people was the understanding of the science of people. That science told me exactly what leadership is (not what the industry thinks) and why people react the way they do to what management does and does not do. So it told me exactly what I had to do to lead my people to be highly motivated, highly committed, and fully engaged Superstars over 300% more productive.
Really enjoying reading your posts and especially enjoy reading about growing into leadership. I am at the start of my professional career and have only just recently realised that I am actually a leader. I appreciate the helpful and practical tips. The advice to ‘explore the impact of your good intentions’ by seeking specific feedback is something I will use straight away.