One of the most important things about becoming and remaining a successful leader is the understanding that you are never done learning. It is quite easy to reach a certain level of comfort in one’s leadership position. Employees are happy, numbers are up, and senior leadership is pleased. This sounds like the perfect situation. While it is a sign of solid leadership, it is not an excuse to rest on ones laurels. Good leaders should always been looking for the next challenge, the next learning experience, and the next opportunity to develop further. Some advice I found on the ‘Leading Effectively’ podcast offered these three pieces of advise to promote continued leadership development.
- First, take a good look at your current job and think about how you might reshape it. Adding new responsibilities to your job or restructuring it might be more doable than you think. Consider moving a responsibility from someone else’s plate to your own, trading tasks with a colleague or taking on a role or task that needs to be done but that no one currently “owns.” Also re-examine responsibilities that are already a legitimate part of your job, but have received little attention. The changes you make can be permanent or temporary. Remember, the goal is to make changes that enhance your leadership skills.
- Second, take on temporary assignments. Look outside your job description or department for projects, task forces, one-time events and activities that you can participate in for a short period of time. You might wonder, “Who has the time to take on more work?” But if your goal is to grow as a leader while you are in your current job, you may need to temporarily make the time to take on more.
- Third, seek challenges outside the workplace. Other areas of your life often provide the same challenges found in job settings. You’ll find plenty of leadership responsibilities in nonprofit, religious, social and professional organizations, as well as schools, sport teams and family life. There are many opportunities to learn lessons of leadership through personal experiences.
These three recommendations will not only go a long way in your personal and professional development they will begin to change your mindset and form the way you approach your career. Again, it is quite easy to find yourself content with where you are as a leader but it is important to remain hungry and always searching for ways to grow as a leader.
“Leading Effectively Podcast.” Podcasts. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 July 2014. <http://www.ccl.org/leadership/podcast/transcriptHowToGrow.aspx?pageId=1719>.