3 Ways to Lead for Growth 

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Leaders who want to foster business growth must foster human growth. But the way to do that is not obvious. How can we encourage colleagues to adopt learning habits while still projecting confidence in our leadership?

3 Practices to Foster a Culture of Development

#1. Set the stage

Are your colleagues leery of taking risks, soliciting feedback, or discussing their mistakes? Many people associate these learning behaviors with novices, not competent professionals, which can lead them to focus on proving themselves rather than improving.

Leaders must clarify that the best performers use these behaviors to become even better and that every colleague should adopt them as the default way of working. Since leaders are nine times more likely to be perceived as under-communicative rather than over-communicative, you must reinforce these messages more than you might think.

#2. Set up systems and habits

If you hope to make growth behaviors the easy default, you must put in place everyday tools and systems to support them.

  1. Prompt colleagues to identify and share learning goals by adding this item to the performance management system.
  2. Foster discussion of lessons learned by including it in the weekly meeting agenda.
  3. Generate customer feedback by soliciting it as part of the standard process.
  4. Keep teammate collaboration improving by setting a recurring meeting to share perspectives and identify what to work on next.

#3. Model learning

Leaders often talk about the importance of learning, but engage in it privately, when colleagues aren’t watching. This makes leaders seem like know-it-alls, leading others to act like know-it-alls, too.

We must make our learning process visible and explicit.

We can do that while still conveying confidence that we have what it takes to succeed. In fact, learning behaviors strengthen our ability to adapt and innovate.

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Eduardo Briceño guides many of the world’s leading companies in developing cultures of learning and high performance. His TED and TEDx talks have been viewed more than nine million times. His book, The Performance Paradox: Turning the Power of Mindset into Action, is strongly endorsed by Carol Dweck and other renowned authors and was selected as a “Must-Read” by the Next Big Idea Club, which is curated by Susan Cain, Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, and Dan Pink.