As a leader, you have a greater obligation to continue to grow, learn, evolve.
How well do you know yourself? Do you know your personality type? How about the personality type of your boss, your peers, your significant other, your reports? You cannot lead without knowing about those you share leadership with and those that follow you.
I have many clients who can tell me a great deal about the favorites they have, but know nothing about those they claim not to get along with. How do you resolve conflict without knowing how to communicate with someone? Not knowing people only puts you at a disadvantage when you try to solve problems and complete goals. If you’re a leader you are obligated to resolve conflict… so you must learn how to read, and get to know, those around you.
The difference between a Leader and a Manager (or any given title) is that leadership is a role and is not an automatic attribute based on title or promotion. Some people are “natural leaders” in that they have gifted abilities that make observation, learning, emotional resilience, and fearlessness easier for them. But most leadership skills can be learned given commitment and effort. Regardless of your title, you can be an awesome leader. If you do have an obligatory title that requires you to lead, you owe it to your followers to commit to evolving. You need to learning. You do not grow or get better without learning something new and completely unique.
Your brain isn’t used to this, and doesn’t want to be. You’ve read this in the article about Authenticity. You have to work at staying curious about new things, and being open to change. This means managing fear, risk, and growth on an almost constant basis. You can’t get stuck in the “this is how we’ve always done it” or “We’ve tried that before and it didn’t work for us.” History is great, and I’m all about learning from past mistakes, but being curious means you analyze the data and details, look for a solution versus assuming the past continues to be correct. Think in the extreme. Assume nothing. Try (almost) anything. Fear will be your greatest risk and wall as a leader, so I encourage you to challenge fear often. Fear is a liar, so kick its ass and move on. The only way to grow is via change, and only high-risk change develops grit, courage, and major growth.
- Look back and learn from history, but challenge how to alter it today. We couldn’t fly, now we can. We died from the cold, now we don’t. I’m waiting on transporters and food replicators (bah humbug to physics aside). Tell yourself to create the impossible every day.
- Teach your brain how to learn. There are ways to make yourself resilient and open-minded. Use science to help. Exercise that grey-matter and appreciate the results. Help your entire team build up their learning capacity and watch productivity and emotional resilience grow. The best habit is in keeping an open mind and having fear on a very tight leash.
- Improve your communication skills and get to know those you have relationships with. Understand their personalities, and ways they learn and communicate. Hold each other accountable in their words and actions, and lead by example. Growth in authenticity, emotional resilience, and a commitment to learn are foundational in leadership.