***This article is inspired by chapter 3 of “Leadershift” by John C. Maxwell – “Goals to Growth” ***
There is no shortage of goal-setting tips, tools, and tactics in our world. We are a driven people! However, while achieving goals has value, growing to become better is much more valuable long-term as a leader. Yes, you must set and achieve goals to be successful (and to keep your job!). But if you want to be better next year than you are this year, growth must be a key focus area.
So, how do you become a growth-oriented leader rather than simply a goal-driven doer? Consider the following 7 steps taught by leadership expert and author John Maxwell:
1 – Embrace Change
Change is inevitable. It’s often said that the only people who like change are babies. The older we get, the more we resist change, and the more we resent being forced to change. However, if we are to grow personally or professionally, change is required. You can’t become better while staying the same. Accept change as a necessary fact of life and begin to embrace it as part of your growth journey.
2 – Adopt a Teachable Spirit
When I was a young intern, my supervisor told me to never stop being teachable. I didn’t see this as a characteristic in my life at the time, but it has proven to be one of my most valuable assets. I love to learn from wiser, more experienced leaders! If you want to continue to develop into a highly valuable and well-respected leader, maintain a teachable spirit and look for ways to learn from others in all areas of life.
3 – Make Your Love for Learning Greater Than Your Fear of Failure
Many people have high aspirations for their lives and careers, but few pursue them out of fear of failing. When you choose to learn and grow, you intentionally place yourself in a position to fail, but you have a mindset of failing forward. When you do this, you are actually giving yourself an opportunity to become better every day. Think about what it was like learning to ride a bike. Failure was inevitable! But if you would’ve stopped trying (and failing), you wouldn’t have been able to achieve your desire to ride with freedom. Failure isn’t final unless you quit, so decide to embrace it as part of the learning process. If you do it long enough you’ll realize that you “failed” your way to success.
4 – Develop Relationships With Other Growing People
Who you surround yourself with is critical. Motivational teacher Jim Rohn is famous for saying that we become like the five people we spend the most time with. If you want to become more successful, up-level your inner circle. Join a mastermind group with people who are farther along than you so you can learn and be challenged by them. If you look around and realize you’re the most successful person in the room, you need to change rooms! Decide on the areas you want to grow in, then find mentors and coaches to help you advance.
5 – Develop Greater Humility
As stated in step #3, learning leads to much “failing.” In order to subject yourself to this reality, humility is required. When you admit that you have been successful but still have a long way to go in life, you’re in a great position to grow. Celebrate your successes, but humble yourself enough to recognize your need for ongoing learning. Refuse to ever “arrive” and stop growing.
6 – Believe In Yourself
A key issue that hinders people in life and leadership is being trapped by limiting beliefs. We can be extremely hard on ourselves! In order to grow, you must believe that you can. You must believe that you’re worthy of becoming more successful. You must believe you’re worth investing in. Many people refuse to buy books, attend conferences, or take continuing education courses because they don’t believe in themselves. To be a growing leader, you must develop your self-confidence and self-worth. You do matter and your followers need you!
7 – Embrace Layered Learning
Layered learning is when you build upon each lesson you learn. What you know today is built upon what you knew yesterday. What you know tomorrow will be built upon what you know today. Today’s ceiling of knowledge is tomorrow’s floor. When you embrace this mindset you will look for ways to continue to build layer by layer until the day you die. This is how you grow exponentially and become extremely valuable. Let the compound effect of learning increase your value to those you lead.
As you can see, shifting from a goal-driven mindset to a growth-oriented one isn’t complicated, but it requires intentionality. It requires that you make key decisions each day to continue to improve. When you do this, you become better and more valuable. This is critical if you are desiring to become a GREAT leader.
You can do this. I believe in you!
Until next time…make today GREAT!