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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

How to Keep Growing as a Leader - Part 1


If you’re a seasoned leader (that’s a nice way of saying you’re old) you are probably pretty good at what you do. You’ve learned the basics of effective leadership and you do a lot of it instinctively, as if it’s second nature. You may have even mentored younger folks who are just starting out and can benefit from your years of experience and wisdom.

 

If this is you, the question then becomes, “How do you keep growing as a leader?

 

Even if you’re good at what you do, assuming that you have mastered all there is to know goes against the principle of being a humble leader.

 

And while you may be an excellent leader, all of us have blind spots or get into patterns of complacency that can keep us stuck. Because we are in an ever and rapidly changing society, it follows that even experienced leaders need to make efforts to stay relevant and cutting edge in how they lead.

 

While experience bestows wisdom, it's the commitment to continuous development that sets exceptional leaders apart.

 

Continual learning and growth for leaders is important for many reasons:

  • It keeps things interesting, prevents burnout and overall leads to a more fulfilling life. Rather than doing the same old thing you’ve always done, embracing new perspectives and developing new skills will lead to more satisfaction and keep boredom at bay.  

  • It helps you stay effective. The business landscape is continually changing, including changes in technology and shifting consumer behaviors. In addition, society’s views about work are evolving. The current workforce, for example, expects more flexibility and more support for work life balance from their employers. Continuing to grow keeps your leadership relevant to these changes.

  • It allows your team to grow. Your growth as a leader is intricately linked to the growth of your team. In the work with our psychotherapy clients, we have a saying that the client can’t be healthier than the therapist. Similarly, the success of a team will not outshine the capacity of their leader.

 

Ask yourself the following questions to discern if it might be time to up your game:

 

1. How much voluntary turnover occurs in your organization? It’s frequently said that employees don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. So, while there may be many things that explain high turnover, be sure to consider the part that you, as the leader, may play. It may be time to examine your paradigms around leading and consider new perspectives and approaches. Exit interviews can be a useful way to inform you about what may need to be changed.

 

2. What’s your level of involvement in company operations? Remember that good leaders are like coaches. They aren’t playing the game themselves, but making sure the team can successfully work together to achieve its goals. If you are hesitant to delegate tasks or your team can’t function well when you’re away, it may be time to consider a new approach.

 

3. Do your teams have high conflict? While some conflict can be very beneficial for teams, too much of it wastes time and impedes progress. If this is happening, you need to consider how you behave when conflict arises and the example you are setting. And then take seriously your leadership responsibility to manage team dynamics.

 

4. How often do you set aside dedicated time to work on yourself, both personally and professionally? Growth can’t happen without attention and effort.

 

Want to learn more? Come back next week when we’ll talk about specific actions you can take to help you continue growing as a leader.


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