In the past few months, I’ve worked with several leaders who were navigating significant new challenges in their roles. The differences between those who managed these situations successfully and those who didn’t often showed itself in their responses to these very common blocks to leadership growth.
1. Believing that it can’t happen to you
Every leader needs to be aware of things that might prevent, delay, or stop growth. To do this, you need to start with a couple of basic insights: that leadership growth is not inevitable and that certain things can stop or derail it. In too many cases, leaders are unable to figure out what’s blocking their growth, because they’re in denial about the need to do so.
2. Ignoring the usefulness of mistakes
Mistakes are necessary for growth. They are signposts on the learning journey. I worked with a client who was experiencing a series of difficult and upsetting events, and he wanted to move past them as quickly as possible. When you find yourself feeling low about your leadership, don’t push it into the background. Rather, embrace the opportunity for growth, reflect on how to avoid similar potholes in the future, and learn how to scramble out of the next pothole a bit more adroitly.
3. Refusing help
We all need help in order to learn. For a variety of reasons, usually rooted in personal insecurity, many leaders refuse help. Use a coach and commit to your development. (An excellent resource on leader “derailment” is the Center for Creative Leadership.)
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