“Good leaders develop through a never-ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience.” -Manual on Military Leadership
Over the last few weeks I have addressed several important facets of leadership. In these posts I have discussed the power of leadership and how to harness it. In the conclusion to this series, I want to address the ongoing commitment you must make to yourself to grow as a leader. No single series of posts or book will turn you into the ideal leader. In order to continuing to develop as a leader you must maintain a commitment to self-improvement.
“The will to win is worthless if you do not have the will to prepare.” -Thane Yost
Leadership, like any skill, improves with practice. As a child you learned to walk. Some people continued down that same path and became world-class marathoners or sprinters. They set goals and put in the effort to achieve them. If being a better leader is your goal, you must be willing to put in the effort to learn and practice these skills. Desire is not enough without the willingness to work towards the goal. Committing to growth will require effort, but it will also produce tremendous results over time.
“To be able to lead others, a man must be willing to go forward alone.” -Harry Truman
What ends the commitment of far too many potential leaders is the lack immediate results. Not everyone will respond favorably initially to your desire to grow. People will force you to prove yourself. Your desire to become a leader must be strong enough to overcome the doubt of others. Leaders are not always popular. The commitment you show to positive growth and developing the skills of a leader is what changes the minds of those who doubt you. Leaders must be stubborn in a course they know will lead to personal growth.
“Leadership is not a one-day thing. It is a constant commitment to excellence, a habit . . . a daily practice.” -Unknown
That stubbornness is what carries you through the hard times. There will be days that you feel you have not impacted a single person. There will be days that you doubt your own ability to lead. You must remain confident that there will also be days where your hard work pays off. The means that on bad days when your confidence is shaken that you will read more or work harder on analyzing how you could have handled a situation better. It also means that on good days when your confidence is strengthened you will continue working hard and analyzing how you could have handled a situation better. That is what is meant by commitment to this goal.
“Leaders are more powerful role models when they learn than when they teach.” -Rosabeth Moss Kantor
What makes the commitment of a leader so powerful is the change seen by those around them. Others will see the change occurring and be inspired by it. People admire leaders because they want to be more like them. Be a positive role model for someone else and you can affect far more than you could alone. It is difficult to convince someone to work on self-improvement if you are not willing to do the same. Until you are convinced you are perfect, there is still room for growth. Your commitment to continually improve will provide incredible motivation for others who want to make changes as well. This is the true measure of leadership.
That concludes this series on leadership. In the coming weeks the manager’s office will expand to include a number of new topics. In addition to the series on motivating servers and leadership, this will be expanded to include some marketing ideas and more specific manager related skills. I hope you have enjoyed this series and that you will be looking in for future management related posts.
Note: Tomorrow is the big day. Check out LVRocks.com to listen to the live streaming of my appearance on The Dave Scott Show from 6-7 PM Central (That 4-5 out west or 7-8 back east). The interview will also contain a major announcement about the future of this site. If you are curious about that announcement, check out the pretty big hint in the last paragraph.
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