Leadership Growth: Nurturing Your True Potential (Part 2 of 2)

Spring is an exciting time, isn’t it? A time of rebirth and renewal, it’s the season when birdsong fills the air around Dogwood Farm, and a warm sun coaxes new buds and blossoms from bare branches. It’s a time of growth and new possibilities—for nature, yes, but also for ourselves.

In Part 1 of this blog, I talked about how we can grow as leaders through service, developing self-awareness, skills development, and, most of all, cultivating a growth mindset. Just like new flowers pushing through the soil and growing a little bit more every day, we should always be looking for ways to be better today than we were yesterday.

Here are a few more thoughts on what it takes to grow and flourish as a real leader.

Embracing Challenges and Failure

British essayist, historian, and philosopher Thomas Carlyle said, “Adversity is the diamond dust Heaven polishes its jewels with.”

Out of all the things I have experienced in my life, the good, the bad, and the things I wish I could forget, adversity and challenging events have been some of the most beneficial. I would never undo any of my own personal hardships because they forged me in fire.

If you are a person who thinks life is only worth living when everything is smooth sailing, leadership may not be for you. Real leaders know that running or backing down from a fight is one of the most detrimental things you can do.

Real leaders embrace the storm, holding the helm no matter what it takes and guiding the ship to safety. When you hold the ship steady despite the tossing waves, you give your team members a chance to grow their own skill sets, which only enhances their capacity to succeed.

Often, the greatest challenges come from within ourselves. If you find yourself stuck in a mud bog, unable to overcome an external challenge, odds are good that it’s probably because an internal challenge has you stumped. Ask yourself: What is it I’m missing within myself that’s keeping me from winning this battle? What limiting self-beliefs are standing in my way?

I guarantee, if you can overcome what’s holding you back on the inside, you’ll find the strength to face whatever comes your way.

As for failure, remember: we only fail if we don’t learn anything. You can let failure discourage you and destroy you; or, you can let failure motivate you to get creative, get after it once more, and get it done.

Seeking Feedback and Mentorship

If you’re working to become your best self as a business leader or in your personal life, it always helps to get another perspective, especially if you’re working on awareness. Having someone else point out where you have work to do—as well as where you shine—is important.

One hundred percent without a doubt, I would not be where I am today without a few special people who took the time to mentor me at various points in my life.

A mentor is someone you can go to when you need to work out a problem, either within yourself or externally. You should pick someone you trust, someone who has what you want, be it a title, position, or aspect of their character. Ask them about their own leadership growth journey and what you can do differently or better.

Seeking feedback is vital in the leadership world. If you’re not able to hear what someone else has to say, either about you or something you’re doing, then you may need to look at how you can work on bolstering your humility. (After all, being humble will save you from a stumble.) An effective leader is as capable of sitting through their own performance review as they are at doling them out.

One of my recent blogs details not only why feedback is important but also how you can embrace it, even when it’s challenging.

I get it. When you’re the leader, you might think there’s no need for feedback. Shouldn’t you know everything? It’s your name on that corner office, right? Wrong.

If you think you know it all and you aren’t leading in a way that makes others feel comfortable enough to approach you, it’s time to seek some mentorship. Someone needs to remind you that there are about a million ways to do things, and yours might not be the most effective or productive.

As a servant leader, you need to be approachable so that people can tell you what does and does not work for them.

You serve THEM. Not the other way around.

Practice some mindfulness and look at your communication skills.

If you aren’t taking constant notes on how you can do better for your team, you aren’t demonstrating real leadership.

Leading by Example and Inspiring Others

When I think of real leadership, I think of real servant leadership. It’s the relentless pursuit of supporting others, staying humble, and demonstrating what it looks like to challenge yourself to learn every day.

Telling people what to do or how to be doesn’t work. You have to inspire them to want to do better for themselves. Can you tell the difference?

One is demanding and critical. The other is positive and inspirational. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have the positive and inspirational guy at the helm of my ship. He makes me want to be a better person, not because he criticizes me and tells me I’m bad, but because he embodies how I want to be in the world, too.

It’s Time to Go Get After It!

Listen, I want to thank you for taking the time to read this and to consider what I’m saying. If you are reading this, you’re already practicing humility. You’re already willing to learn. You’re already open to some mentorship, and you’ve probably already overcome challenges and kept on despite failures.

So I’m here to tell you to keep going. Don’t quit now. Whatever the season is outside, now is the time to grow your leadership, grow yourself, and grow your heart of service to your team. After all, we are all human becomings.

I’ll see you at the top because the bottom sure is crowded!

1 Comment

  1. Sherry

    Thank you for this I needed to read this so very inspiring and insightful.


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