Learn to Let Go

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Leadership development is a growth process. Sometimes, leadership development is a glacially slow growth process.

One thing I have learned along the way (and I’m quite certain the people most responsible for my own leadership development experienced the same thing), sometimes letting go is the best move.

Not letting go and giving up.

Not letting go and walking away.

Not letting go and waiting for failure.

Let go and trust. Trust that growth can happen. Trust that mistakes made can lead to lessons learned. Trust the end result will be worth the effort.

Along the way, in order for you to have grown, someone had to trust you. Are you grateful for those opportunities? Are you ready to return the favor?

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Big Change Takes Time to Chew

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I fancy myself a thinker. I enjoy looking at situations and dreaming up next steps. As such, I spend a large chunk of my time thinking and considering options.

Along the way, I’ve learned an important leadership principal:

big change takes time to chew

Just because I’ve spent countless hours thinking about a change I want to lead, does not mean the people around me and, more importantly, those from whom I need support in the change, have spent countless hours thinking about the change.

In fact, often times, I’m suggesting a change they may have never considered.

When I include other people in the planning and thinking process, three things happen:

They feel like part of the decision, because they are

When someone feels free to offer opposing views in a supportive way, solutions are more easily sought out and pursued.

They get to work through their hesitations

I cannot tell you how many times in my life I have initially bristled at a decision made by someone above me, only to realize the validity a little time later (sometimes hours, sometimes a few days).

They take ownership of the new direction

Decisions are implemented much more fluidly when leadership is on the same page. One body moving in the same direction proves more effective than chaos.

One Final Disclosure

I am not saying you let the people around you determine the direction, but instead you bring them to the table and treat them like their thoughts and opinions matter, because they do.

I am far from the world’s best at this, and still regularly make mistakes, BUT I do know enough to say: do not let the people around you choke on the big changes, because big change takes time to chew.

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Develop Leaders

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Over the past few years I have noticed a shift in my focus on leadership. As my own leadership has grown, I find myself looking for ways to help others.

This does not mean that everything I do has provided excellent results. Nor have my efforts been error free. But, as I have learned to start developing young leaders around me, and as leaders around me have done the same, I have noticed one thing.

Leadership education happens in a classroom. Leadership development happens through experience.

Educating leaders is not an unworthy task. In fact, as I talked about here, I believe leaders should develop a habit of consistent learning. So, there is a definite place for the classroom in leadership development.

However, knowledge of a subject does not lead to experience in the subject. We cannot neglect real world leading as a teaching tool if we desire to develop leaders.

Each summer over the past four years I have taken a group of students on a leadership trip. The trip is very education focused, and it serves a great purpose. But only recently have I started understanding the importance of giving these student leaders opportunities to lead.

Then, when students (or adults), have an opportunity to lead, they grow. And that’s my goal–to develop leaders.

Develop leaders, don’t just educate them.

 

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The 3 Questions and Growth

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If you’re reading this, let me start today by saying thank you. I appreciate you reading, thinking, sharing, and participating. I started this blog with one basic premise: I think there may be something to the 3 questions I have started asking myself to help me grow as a leader.

What are the 3 questions? Well, when I walk into a room (or find myself leading an event), I ask:

  1. What needs to be done?
  2. What can I do?
  3. Who can I get to help?

If you’re new, you can click here to read the original series of posts introducing and explaining the 3 questions.

Disclaimer: This is not an effort to toot my own horn, but let’s be honest–there’s a level of self indulgence that comes with writing a blog (probably my biggest struggle with continuing to write and post).

I am constantly amazed at how when I ask myself the three questions in most situations, I am immediately presented with an opportunity to grow, especially as it comes to that tricky third question.

It’s risky to ask someone for help. It’s natural to fear a no. It’s easier to do it myself. It’s less revealing of my shortcomings when I’m the only one who realizes how poorly I plan. It’s comfortable to stay where we are and never grow.

But, once again, let’s be honest: leaders who never grow, never last.

Too extreme? Maybe, but I know I am not going to find satisfaction unless I am willing to push my own leadership limits and encourage those around me to do the same thing.

What about you? What are you building into your life and routine that regularly challenges you to grow? Is it working?

 

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Check It Out – Turn the Faucets On

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I’ve never considered myself an entrepreneur, mainly because I have never started an outside business. So today’s link may seem a little strange.

But, if you fancy yourself an entrepreneur, or are even intrigued by the idea, this short article by Jon Acuff is worth the read.

Here’s a taste:

“The best time to build a new business is when you don’t need it to support your family.”

(Read more at Acuff.me: The simple secret to being a successful entrepreneur. http://acuff.me/2017/03/simple-secret-successful-entrepreneur/)

Even if you’re not interested in building a new business or making more money, you can learn something from the read. Sometimes, growing in leadership means looking at something that may not apply and learning from it anyway.

Enjoy!

 

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