Leadership Isn’t a Trait, It’s a Habit, Meaning It Takes Practice
Some leaders are born of necessity, and others by choice. Regardless of the way you became a leader, it’s vital that you are constantly seeking improvement, for yourself AND for the sake of the people you lead. Why is it vital? Because the world evolves. Because YOU evolve. And because needs in your organization will always be changing. So what’s your strategy for growth in leadership? Keep reading as we share some key areas and strategies for growth in leadership.
After decades of coaching, we can tell you confidently that there are some people who are “natural, born leaders” and others who are not. This does NOT mean that if you didn’t drop out of the womb with the leadership gene that you can’t become an exceptional leader. And, in fact, some of the best leaders in history fell into their leadership roles reluctantly.
So the real question is, how strong is your desire to become a leader worth following? If you have the desire, you can learn the skills.
John Maxwell writes on leadership often, and makes it clear each time he does that leadership is an evolutionary process, not a destination. In his book, LeaderSHIFT: 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace he shares practical advice on multiple areas calling for your attention.
Two of these changes in particular tie directly into Leadership becoming one of your best habits.
Essential Change #2 from John Maxwell: The Personal Development Shift – Goals to Growth
You know on the airplane, when the flight attendant tells you to put your own mask on first before helping others to put on theirs? If you don’t take care of you, then you won’t be able to take care of others. Leadership is like this. Improving yourself precedes truly improving everything else in your life.
You have to shift from growth with a timeline (“How long will it take?”) to growth without a finish line (“How far can I go?”). Love the process, instead of looking for the end. Embrace change, develop relationships with other growing people (other leaders would be great!), believe in yourself, come from abundance, and let your love of learning become stronger than your fear of failing.
Sign up for a course. Revisit a favorite leadership book. (We started a list on our Facebook group; go here to see it or add your favorite to it!) Take action today as part of your strategy to grow as a leader.
Essential Change #6 from John Maxwell: The Production Shift – Ladder Climbing to Ladder Building
Everyone starts with ladder climbing; you’re building credibility and showing how high you can go. As a leader, your next step, ladder holding, is to see how far others can go with some help. This is where you discover people’s potential, and truly expand as a leader. Start asking the straightforward questions: “Where are you stuck? How can I help? What’s your next step?”
Ladder extending helps you identify how far someone can go with a LOT of help. As you do this, you’re discovering that person’s capacity – not just emotionally, creatively, or production-wise, but also to become a leader themselves.
Ladder building, then, is helping that person to build their own ladder, giving them the freedom to be themselves and being okay with the possibility that they might eventually move on. Let part of your strategy become identifying how you can build ladders for the people you lead. Weekly accountability meetings and quarterly performance reviews will create benchmark moments to evaluate progress.
John Maxwell has said, “Everything worthwhile is uphill.” Forming habits takes time and intention. Your developing habit of outstanding leadership deserves attention and focus. Build it into your routine and be intentional with those you lead. By all means, if you want help or support, set up a free strategy session today by contacting us here!.