Working on a Dream




Monday, July 9, 2012

Growing Pains: 4 Lessons of Leading.

Many of you have come to me with questions inquiring about leadership practices.

-What should I read?
-What should I start incorporating into my life?
-What should I stop doing / saying in order to gain more influence?
-How do I navigate an ever changing world?

Honestly, the understanding and practice of leadership is a daunting endeavor, so for the sake of simplicity, I will give you 4 practical areas to focus on. 

If you aspire to lead, you need to (1) focus on Self-Awareness.
I call this "Mirror Gazing." This is the first step because in order to lead others you must lead yourself.  Leaders first have to "be" before they can "do."  This stage is painful, because this is where you will expose the blind spots in your life that hinder your potential.  Some suggested tools to help you grow in this area are: Eleventalents Website, Emotional Intelligence & The Johari Window.  There is simply no substitute for self-awareness, so start taking a long look at yourself get make sure you have some very thick skin.  

(2) Give your attention to Developing your Skills.
Developing your capabilities to lead is imperative.  This is all about practical experience.  Here is a simple way to think about this area:  This is information you will put down on your resume.  A list of tangible achievements that you actually performed.  Therefore, find ways to put what you are learning into practice.  Your potential for leading will increase as you grow your capability to lead.  Take the time to read thought provoking material(s), surround yourself with successful people, find ways to observe their practices and then get creative on implementing those principles.  There is nothing like real-life experience; so find ways to apply what you are learning about yourself & the leadership lessons you have been learning in an environment that encourages growth.

The next area you will give attention to is Resource Management.
Time management, money management, maintaining a healthy body, growing spiritually & mentally.  This is where many potential leaders fail.  If you do not get a firm grasp on these areas, you are sabotaging yourself.  It is like going to the GYM and only developing your biceps and triceps ...  Do not underestimate the importance of this area, it will make or break you.  Think about it this way, you may have all the experience and knowledge in the world, but if you are not self disciplined, it will reflect in your daily life and you will lose influence with those you wish to lead.

In number two, I wrote about the importance of developing your leadership capabilities; in the final area of your growth, you have to focus on growing your leadership capacity. The idea here is developing your mind. You start out leading with a single shot, but you will need to develop into a six shooter. Your personal growth will depend directly upon your attitude. The reason is because we all get to a place of complacency.  We plateau and get comfortable.  What separates the average person from the great IS the ability to push, the ability to confront yourself; the ability to feel the pain and persevere.

Above are four areas that no leader can afford to overlook.  They are all equally important and you cannot ignore one over the other.  Truthfully, the vast majority of people I come across only focus on 1 or 2 of them and over time, lose steam.  If you would like to know more about the above, feel free to write me, I'd be more than happy to expand on anything above. 

Remember, my goal is to help you to reach yours!


Matthew Scott K said...

The self-awareness peice is 'huge.' This is where we develop our systems. If we have poor systems we learn the same lesson over and over. If we have good systems, the lesson we learn today is not the same one we learn tomorrow.

Thank you!

Anthony K said...

Thank you Matthew.

I coud not agree MORE with you!

dan black said...

What a great list. I have been leading and learning about leadership for over 5 years and your right on about these 4 areas. Great post!