CHANGE is inevitable, but growth is optional. The growth of a leader means the growth of their organisation, too. No organisation can rise above the level of the leader. Simon Sinek said, “Leadership is an education and the best leaders think of themselves as the students not the teachers.” You have to grow to avoid dying. Learning is leadership. Leadership is learning.
SUCCESS LIFE: JONAH NYONI
Human potential and purpose can be improved so as to function at optimum levels. In order to improve, one has to be self-aware and take personal responsibility for their growth. I have found the Grow Model developed by Sir John Whitmore so helpful in my personal life and when I am coaching leaders towards effective growth.
Goal — You should know what you want to achieve first so as to refine the necessary skills to achieve that goal. What do you want to achieve? Here you find your intentions or goals. In order to grow, you need to know your goal and set sub-goals towards your own growth. This makes it easy to know when you have achieved your goal.
Reality — As a leader, explore your current realities for your growth. Explore current circumstances that could be inhibiting your growth. This puts your current realities in clear perspectives so as to seek appropriate remedies and techniques.
Options — For you to grow, you must have a list of strategies, options and action plans.
Will — This is the final stage of the Grow Model. This stimulates what must be done for one to grow. I have seen many leaders with great ideas, but fail at this stage. Vision without venture is void. Anthony Robbins says to be successful, you must turn your ‘shoulds’ into ‘musts’. Below are seven ways for you to grow:
The major reason of a leader is to know why they are doing what they are doing. As soon as you know your purpose, you know what you should do to hone your skills in line with your abilities. This is my greatest motivation towards my personal growth. When someone is motivated, they have a burning reason to do something. For example, I am always reading books related to leadership. I don’t struggle doing that. It’s my passion. At the writing of this book, I had finished reading 109 books. I am constantly researching and reading on leadership. No one forces me to, but it’s that inexplicable internal desire to improve my craft.
How you feel about yourself determines what you are willing to do without anyone forcing you. Motivated people are willing to do more than they should.
The leader must be motivated to do what’s important and necessary for their growth. What’s your motive for being in leadership? Is it for the position, power, or for mere personal aggrandisement? Or it is out of passion and to fulfil your purpose? It’s also easy for motivated people to grow. It’s easy for them to help other people grow. And it’s easy for motivated people to motivate others to action.
- Weak points
Every leader has weaknesses or flaws. Most people don’t want these to be known. They flaunt their strengths and hide their flaws. Acknowledge and accept your flaws. As soon as you know your flaws, you know what you should work on and who should help you. Weak points make you see the deficiencies in you. This gap must be closed, through personal growth. As I coach many leaders, I discover that some of them are enslaved in perfectionism and the moment they miss it, they condemn themselves.
- Failure is the fuel
We get lessons from failures. Some have said it is either you win or you learn (not lose). We don’t go through problems, but we grow through them. I have been sharpened and shaped by failures. Many lessons in life are shrouded as failures. We may fall down, but should not stay down.
- Feed on feedback
Leadership is also an ability to hear and listen to what others say about you. Most people have been corrupted by good feedback because that is what they want to hear. Leaders that always want to hear praises usually take positive criticism as an attack. We all love praise. Yes, every leader should praise others, but that shouldn’t be the end in itself. We have to accept negative feedback. Receive negative feedback with grace and wisdom. That gives you hints on the areas you should grow or improve down on.
- Learn from other leaders.
In life, there are always people who are better informed or experienced than us. Always seek advice from better leaders in order to grow. As you seek guidance from others, you gain wisdom. Great leaders know the power of wisdom and that wisdom is from other people.
The Bible says, “Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendour.” (Proverbs 4:5-9, NIV)
- Set the bar high
Never settle for mediocrity, but set the bar high for your growth as a leader. Don’t be crippled or paralysed by your fears. Don’t stoop low in trivialities or for people who want you to come down to their level. Phillip Brooks said, “The true way to be humble is not to stoop until you are smaller than yourself, but to stand at your real height against some higher nature that will show you what the real smallness of your greatness is.”
Growth is a process that needs you to invest in yourself. Growth is never automatic, but is conscious. Get time to read at least one hour every day. Seek people that will empower you such as coaches and mentors. I usually say the best investment you “must” make is to the greatest asset called the mind.
It’s easy for me to forgo other things (or gratifications) so as to buy books, attend seminars and buy video and audio materials for my personal grow. Most of one’s life is entrapped in the domain of their thinking.
To improve the quality of your life, you must first improve the quality of your thoughts. Alvin Toffler said: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
Finally, for you to grow you need to see the need for growth and then engage into a daily growth process that will improve you first before you lead anyone.
Growth should be intentional, consistent and focused. As a leader, the worst you could do to yourself is to think growth in the external. Your growth is not automatic, it needs an effort.
It won’t be easy, but it will pay. As you grow, your value in the market grows as well. When you grow, you help those you lead grow as well and that brings a ripple effect to the whole institute. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi