Growth for a leader is like oxygen for a deep-sea diver. Without it – you die. Ken Blanchard and I have been working on a book on this topic entitled, Great Leaders GROW. To most of you reading this, the idea of growth for a leader makes perfect sense. However, many leaders still see personal growth as extracurricular at best; it is something to do if you find extra time, energy and resources.
So why do so many leaders miss the point that growth is not optional? What are the impediments a leader must navigate to GROW?
#1 Too Busy
Most high-impact leaders I know are busy. However, the best leaders know they can never allow themselves to become too busy to learn. Leaders must be sure we’ve allocated time to reinvest in ourselves. Stephen Covey talked about this when he documented the habits of “highly-effective” people. His research revealed the practice of “Sharpening the Saw.” Yes, it takes time, but our effectiveness increases more than enough to offset the time investment. If we’re too busy to learn, we’re too busy to lead.
#2 Lack of Priority
Clearly, this is related to item #1. Leaders act on their priorities. That’s what leaders do. So, where is personal growth on your priority list? Is it near the top or at the bottom of your list? Or is it even on your list? Granted, there will be seasons when personal growth may take a back seat. But the best leaders know this is not a sustainable situation. If a leader places priority on personal growth, he or she will make it happen.
#3 Misplaced Responsibility
Who’s responsible for your growth as a leader? Is it your supervisor’s job? Is the organization accountable? If you and I wait for our supervisor or the organization to fuel our growth, we may be waiting a very long time. Let’s face it – our growth is not the highest priority on someone else’s agenda. Our growth is our job. We must own it and act on it!
So, in light of these very real obstacles, what’s the antidote? It starts with the realization that…
Our capacity to grow determines our capacity to lead.
Then we must make a decision:
I will assume full responsibility for my growth as a leader.
This realization followed by this decision will position you for growing influence, impact and opportunity. You’ll be ready to begin the journey.