By Lolly Daskal
Growth in leadership is mandatory, not optional. If we fail to grow it’s not a matter of just staying where we are—we become stagnant and fall further and further behind.
Growing as a leader requires that we give up the things that are familiar to us, that we take new steps and do things in new ways. Those actions are what change is made of. The reward lies not in what we get from growth, but in what we become because of our growth.
Here are some daily habits you can take to grow as a leader:
Develop a repertoire of skills. To be the best leader you are capable of being, you need to constantly be mastering new competencies, instead of relying on the skills you already have under your belt. Growing leaders are constantly updating and expanding their skills and knowledge.
Learn through your experiences. The more you experience, the more you know. That means that even the most difficult challenges present an opportunity to engage in that experience, learn the lessons it holds, and apply your new knowledge to whatever comes next.
Challenge your comfort zone. It’s tempting to lull yourself into always doing the same things in the same ways with the same people at the same time with the same results. But there’s no room in that picture for stretching yourself to become better. Get comfortable being uncomfortable, because that’s how you grow.
Focus on the future by being present today. When you’re stuck in the past it can be hard to get unstuck, but when you’re focused on the present you know that everything you do today will affect the future. Growing leaders know that the present is the foundation for the future.
Set the bar high. Most people wonder, “How can I get there faster, quicker, and in a shorter time?” But leaders who are serious about growth are always raising the bar for themselves, not just for others. They keep the bar high and do everything they can to consistently reach it.
Look within. When you first start in position of leadership, you’re more concerned with your external qualities, but as you grow in leadership you rediscover that leading is an internal quality. To lead outwardly you first must learn to lead from within.
Keep asking questions. Growing leaders are always asking questions. Many people believe that leadership is about knowing all the answers, but that’s simply wrong. True leadership is about being inquisitive. When you stop asking questions, you stop growing.
Leverage your weaknesses. It’s easy to play from your strengths, but when you become better acquainted with your own weaknesses and learn to leverage them, you’re positioning yourself to grow as a leader.
Embrace failure. All of us fall at some point; it’s getting up again that counts. Being able to weather failure and recover is a sign of growth—and the source of some of the most important lessons you’ll ever learn.
Work with a coach. The best way to grow as a leader is to have an external support. A coach can help you to become a better version of yourself by guiding you through important decisions, keeping you grounded in difficult times, and helping you understand your purpose and goals. Most importantly, they can help you learn faster from your successes and failures.
Lead from within: Growth is the great separator between those who succeed and those who don’t.