Some years ago I had the pleasure of joining a team of professionals engaged in an iterative process meant to highlight accomplishments and make leaders aware of shortcomings. It was one of the best years of professional growth in my life. I was thrust into a group of highly competitive professionals and challenged nearly every day. When you find yourself in such an environment you have exactly two options – sink or swim. The big take away in any internal consulting process is what business practices you can learn and then bring back to your daily operations. As leaders we must always remain reflective and open to growth. This leadership journey will never end; if you are doing it right.
There is power in reflection, especially when it’s turned inward. Your application of the principles of leadership will not always make a solid landing. There will be slip-ups and failures. Your depth, as a leader, will come from the take away. What did you learn from the experience and how will these learning points mold your future interactions? Hopefully, you begin to develop a sense of personal awareness. This awareness will serve as a warning indicator in the future. The realization there is trouble ahead and you should pause before pressing on. Not a hard stop, but a recognition that these indicators have a feeling of familiarity. Like a computer you should begin to file through your trusted experiences and begin to build a solution.
Building your experience base increases the value of your tool kit and concurrently your value to any organization. All of those successes, failures and near misses become specialty tools which often lead to future successful engagements. We must always be learning. When it comes to leadership, if you are not being challenged you slowly lose your effectiveness. If you are not growing talent, you are wasting an opportunity to mentor. If you are not pushing yourself to engage and learn new things, you get passed by those who are. Get the point? Press forward with deliberation – keep learning!