Life is a marathon, not a sprint, and the same principle applies to leadership. Just like a well-tended garden, your personal growth requires regular nurturing. Whether you’re the head honcho of a blossoming startup or the leader of an established organisation, pausing for personal growth isn’t just a luxury—it’s a necessity.
The Case for Continual Growth
If you’re wondering why personal growth should sit high on your list of priorities, think about this: the more you grow, the more you can offer. Leadership isn’t about a title; it’s about influence, adaptability, and the ability to guide your team through both smooth and stormy weather. These skills are not static. They evolve as you do.
Imagine you’re the captain of a ship. Would you set sail with an outdated map and no plans to update your navigational skills? Probably not. The same logic applies to leadership. Staying current is about more than just keeping up with industry trends. It’s about being a well-rounded individual who can bring a wide range of skills and perspectives to the table.
A Little Goes a Long Way
You don’t have to enrol in a full-time MBA program or jet off to a week-long retreat (though those are great options too!) to contribute to your growth pillar. Even small, consistent steps can make a significant impact.
Don’t just stick to industry publications or the latest business bestseller. Diversify your reading list to include philosophy, history, and even fiction. You’ll be surprised at how a broader understanding of the world can enrich your business decisions.
Take an interest in the roles and challenges of your team members. This will not only help you understand your business from the ground up but also foster a culture of empathy and cooperation.
Exercise Your Creativity
Even if your day-to-day work doesn’t involve much creative thinking, it’s a skill worth cultivating. Simple activities like doodling, cooking, or even assembling a piece of furniture can stimulate your brain in new ways, helping you become a better problem solver.
Feedback as a Growth Tool
Nothing sharpens your skills like constructive criticism. Make it a point to seek out feedback from a variety of sources, including your team, mentors, and even friends and family. Accept this feedback graciously, and most importantly, act on it. After all, what’s the point of receiving advice if you don’t put it into practice?
Celebrate the Wins, Learn from the Losses
Every victory, no matter how small, contributes to your personal growth. Did you successfully lead your team through a challenging project? That’s a win. Did you improve your public speaking skills? Another win. Don’t let these moments pass by without acknowledgment.
On the flip side, don’t be too hard on yourself when things don’t go as planned. Instead of dwelling on your losses, analyse them. There’s a lesson in every failure, and the quicker you learn it, the faster you’ll grow.
Keep an Open Mind
The most dangerous phrase in the language of a leader is “We’ve always done it this way.” Don’t get stuck in the rut of routine. Be open to new experiences, different viewpoints, and the ever-changing landscape of your industry.
Nurturing your personal growth pillar is an ongoing process. It demands time, effort, and above all, a commitment to never stop growing. Remember, you’re not just doing it for yourself but for the people who look up to you, for the organisation that relies on your leadership, and for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Never stop growing because leadership is a journey, not a destination.