Sunday, February 23, 2014

How to Grow as a Leader

How to Keep Growing as a Leader

I'm no expert in leadership, far from it. I never write a blog for that matter, attempting to be the authoritative voice on any particular topic. Though I do believe I have learnt some lessons along the way, in terms of leadership, that I'd love to share with you right now.

How do you continue to grow as a leader?

  • Good leaders read good leadership books. Keep reading. Read books on leadership. Read magazines on leadership. Further to that, challenge yourself to synthesise your thoughts after you have read something. How often have you read something, thought you understood what you read, and then when you tried to relay what you learnt to someone else, you went blank? Synthesising your thoughts and your learnings is important. Information is not beneficial in and of itself, but how you work through the information and the teaching and apply it to your situation. So read and process.
  • Good leaders learn from mistakes. Good leadership is not expressed in the absence of mistakes, but rather, leadership is expressed in the willingness to 'give it another shot' and step up and try again. Leaders need to understand that at times, the most important thing to do, is to step up again, straighten the back and try again. Thomas Edison didn't build the lightbulb the first try.
  • Good leaders challenge themselves. You can grow as a leader as you take on bigger and grander tasks. Quite often you feel ill-prepared and ill-equipped, but by throwing yourself in the deeper end, you are challenged to grow. The founder of SEEK, Andrew Bassat, took on the likes of Fairfax by starting an online classifieds website for the unemployed back in the late 90s. He threw himself in the deep end, and now SEEK has a market value of $4.4 billion, compared with Fairfax of $1.4 billion. Bassat knew little about how to run an online site, but grew as a leader because he took on a challenge.Trying something difficult, will not necessarily ensure you grow as a leader, but it will provide a context in which growth can happen.
  • Good Christian leaders grow in their faith. If you are a Christian leader, then growing as a leader is about not only your skill-sets, but your relationship with God. Some call it, 'Growing in God', and others say we need to, 'Mature in Christ'. Followers of Jesus generally comprehend the importance of such things and it should really go without saying. Growing as a leader and maturing in Christ go hand-in-hand.
  • Mentors and Coaches can help you grow as a leader. The right mentor will be someone who can help you understand why you think and act the way you do! They can stretch you, inspire you or point you in the right direction. They can be invaluable in their capacity to lift you to 'another level' so to speak.
The opportunity to lead is a given for many (as a parent, a minister, a teacher, a manager, a school captain, etc). Growing as a leader is not a given. Growing as a leader is optional and requires work. Be intentional if you are leader. Choose to grow.

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