Leadership Growth is Hard!

growth and learning leadership Mar 13, 2022

Leadership growth is problematic because it takes time, and scheduling time to learn, practice, live, reflect, and adjust is the last thing on the list. Leaders have got business leaders relying on them, projects to complete, meetings to attend, staff members to train and coach, families to care for, etc. They hope the busyness of their schedule will result in personal growth, but the fact is, minimal growth is achieved this way and does not lead to success. Hope is refreshing, but hope without action is only a dream. 

While caught up in everyday busyness, we utilize existing knowledge, skills, and experience. Consider your existing knowledge, skills, and experience as a framed and hanging picture on a wall. Enlarging the frame without enlarging the picture would look awkward. This same concept applies to leadership. Increasing your leadership responsibilities without increasing your knowledge, skills, and experience as a leader would impede performance.

When I was promoted from an hourly position to a front-level manager, it quickly became evident that my knowledge and experience as a package driver were not enough to lead teams successfully. I spent lots of time analyzing reports to hold people accountable for their performance rather than building relationships because I was trained to do. The productivity increased; however, my first leadership survey was critical. It brought me to tears. At least the team was gracious enough to give me feedback, which made me aware of what I was lacking and the needed changes. However, it would have been a better experience for us if I had understood the importance of building team rapport before the promotion. From that point forward, even now, at the ripe old age of 60, I continue to invest time, energy, and money in developing as a leader. I will forever be thankful for those that give me honest feedback along the way.

Whether promoting upward or becoming responsible for larger teams or projects, every leadership level requires increasing leadership skills. Study results show that participants undergoing leadership training improve their learning capacity by 25% and their performance by 20%. The Global Leadership Forecast 2018, prepared by The Conference Board and Development Dimensions International, found that organizations that embrace a more inclusive approach to leadership training are 4.2 times more likely to outperform those that restrict development to management. 

“Leadership and learning are indispensable of each other.” – John F. Kennedy.

Decide today to fit time into your schedule to learn how to improve your leadership skills. To figure out how to make room in your schedule to invest in yourself and others, click here to download a great exercise that is thought-provoking and easy to complete. The Values Diagram