During a random conference call with a vendor, I met an impressive young man who was just getting started in his technology career. The call was short, and we didn’t touch on the topic, so I was surprised to receive an email from him asking for career growth advice. These are the moments that keep me motivated to do what I’m most passionate about, equipping leaders with passion and purpose.
I eagerly draft the email reply, grinning from ear to ear because I know he will succeed. By exercising his bold ambition of seeking knowledge from someone he just met let me know that he is already well ahead of the pack.
Which leads me to 7 habits to accelerate leadership growth:
1. Humble yourself. Decide that your growth is more important than your pride and seek the guidance necessary for growing both personally and as a leader. Pride is the poison that paralyzes growth.
2. Find a mentor. If a mentor doesn’t discover you first, look for more experienced and wiser leaders that you respect and ask them if they will mentor you. Be selective and choose someone with great character and willing to offer their time and excellent guidance.
3. Be prepared. Make a list of questions that will help you gain relevant knowledge when meeting with your mentor. When you meet someone, like the vendor call example, and you believe that they might have valuable knowledge to share, don’t be afraid to ask them. Most people are flattered and genuinely want to help others who are willing to make the request.
4. Anticipate success. Approach your day with high anticipation that you will meet the right people to offer the guidance that you need. Expect opportunities and success are coming your way every day.
5. Invest in yourself. If the company you work for doesn’t provide formal leadership development training, find a course or workshop to learn the principles of great leadership. Each year, set aside the budget to invest in personal and leadership development training.
6. Become a lifelong learner. Decide that it’s not an option to stop learning and growing, ever! The human design is continuous growth which is why we are so unhappy being stagnant in life always striving. Become an aggressive reader and a student of life.
7. Never Quit! Many great leaders fall at some point in their career, make serious mistakes and experience trials. No one is perfect. The ones who never give up, learn from the situation and refuse to let the fall become their identity soar to new heights that only adversity can enable.
I shared these points of advice and more with the ambitious young man in my story, and with his natural desire to succeed, he took the advice seriously and started implementing them immediately. He is soaring like an eagle!