Leaders should constantly assess who they are becoming.
You will reflect the influences you allow into your life – the friends you hang out with, the books you read, the music you listen to. Each season brings different challenges, and will reveal new things about your strengths and weaknesses. As a leader, it is imperative to continually evaluate who you are and push toward growth. Maintaining the ability to grow means having the same teachable spirit you expect from all of those you work with. It is never too late to learn something new and become a stronger leader.
Here are four ways you can continue to grow:
1. Evaluate your self-awareness
Self-awareness is the ability to see yourself clearly and objectively through introspection. It is knowing who you are and continuously evaluating your habits and growth. According to a study done by Psychology Today, self-awareness makes us better at our jobs, better communicators in the workplace, and enhances our self-confidence and job-related wellbeing. Self improvement is impossible without self-awareness. It is the first step in growth and aids in your decision-making process. Take a few moments each day to celebrate your progress and evaluate your patterns.
2. Develop a clear vision
You should be other-oriented when it comes to casting vision. This means we should be looking within our organization in order to gain that perspective. Vision is one of the most powerful tools we have as leaders. It not only shows where you are headed as an organization, but provides motivation to persevere. People trust people who have a purpose. That drive and ambition will create momentum that people really will want to join and be on board with. Missional purpose filled with energy is contagious.
3. Continually audit your context
Leadership is contextual, and we have to understand that dynamic before we can effectively lead. Your context comes from everything and everyone around you – it’s your big picture. It’s everything you need to know before making a decision. Context comes when you take the time to stop, listen to those around you and gather information. This should be a consistent practice. One mistake many leaders make is evaluating their context at the beginning of their position, and then failing to re-evaluate in new seasons. This hinders their growth as a leader and the growth of their organization.The world is constantly changing. Choosing the path of innovation will keep you ahead of the game.
4. Empower others
There’s no greater investment in life than encouraging people. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.” In order to empower, you must first listen to those around you. Listen to the issues, challenges, and dreams of the people within your organization. Great leaders are great listeners. Too many people listen only to reply. The ones who make a difference are the ones who listen to understand. Understanding someone else’s view builds productive relationships. When I first came to Southeastern University as president, I made it a point to surround myself with people who had different skill sets. This allowed me to gain different perspectives and empower others to work in their giftings.
Change is inevitable, but growth is optional. As a leader, it is your choice to embrace the change that life will throw at you. You will grow when you own every season that you’re walking through.