16 Dec The Way Forward

I had the privilege of facilitating the closing session for the Men’s Leadership Institute yearlong program.  We called the last session, The Way Forward.  For me, moving forward as a steward of what I have learned so far involved capturing in a book what I had learned about leadership through my experiences as a leader and follower, lectures I attended, books I’ve read, mentors who coached me, but mostly what I learned from my mistakes and the adversity we all face.

I believe the key component that separates effective leaders from average leaders is the discipline to sacrifice and the ability to endure hardship to strengthen one’s resolve. In other words, leaders are comfortable with being uncomfortable because they know every life event thrown their way can be a tremendous learning experience.

Leadership can be an illusion of control, but changing your perspective on everyday experiences can provide inspirational learning opportunities for personal growth and development.  I believe leadership development can occur every day if you’re observant, reflective, and determined. This course has provided you practical leadership principles for managing oneself, creating a personal strategy, and effectively engaging others to assist you with your own developmental objectives.

Turn yourself into a living laboratory by empowering yourself to start a lifelong journey of observation, persistence, humility, and a disciplined approach to trial and error (with lots of emphasis on the errors because that is where the learning always takes place).

Keep exploring what effective leaders actually do and how they do it, and you will continuously improve your personal effectiveness to develop and inspire people to achieve more than they thought they could.

What questions should you routinely ask yourself?  On a daily basis, what steps should you take to find personal success in your life’s work?  Do you know your life’s work?  Some say it’s the place where your passion and others’ needs intersect.  I believe a key determinant of success is whether you can rely on yourself for self-coaching.  However, self-reliant leadership is dependent on achieving a balance between independence and the interdependence of working with others to accelerate your own personal growth and development.

Leaders are molded from the experiences of their life, and great leaders learn from these experiences (more from the setbacks) at a faster rate than others. I suspect that great leaders intuitively know how to pick organizations and roles where their interests, skills, experiences, and values are aligned with their passions.

Keep focusing on learning how to learn – knowing yourself, learning from your mistakes, learning from observation, questioning, and using inevitable situations that will test your mettle while forcing adjustments to create rich learning experiences. Keep a journal.  I cannot offer a step-by-step list for various leadership challenges, but the ideas above can provide a framework to help you learn about becoming self-reliant to take charge of your own personal growth as a leader in order to create a powerful future. You will have to adapt and change.

Remember…  first, you have to know yourself.  Becoming self-reliant with your own leadership development is synonymous with knowing which questions to ask yourself and having the courage to answer them and act.

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