Leadership requires growth. You don’t always get to pick your team or even your projects and you may find yourself working with someone or on something that you don’t really like. In those cases, you must keep the big picture in mind that it’s not all about you, that you have a team to build and a goal to pursue and it must be done collectively. That team goals are more important than your personal goals and that every day you must leave your prejudices and likes and dislikes at the door so that you can properly hold your team members accountable for their part in the final product. That’s not always easy, but that’s called growing up. Leadership also requires relationships. If we are to push for excellence, then we must recognize that alone we are limited, but collectively we can be great. Finding out the strengths and weaknesses of your team as well as where they see themselves fitting in is the best way to start building and strengthening the relationships needed to go above and beyond. Holding people accountable for their individual responsibilities is a skill that grows people. Punishment that individuals never saw coming grows rebels. You, as the leader, must know the difference. It is about influence, not power. Leaders who use power as their basis are missing the most important ingredient that allows teams to go above and beyond. TRUST! Without it, your team will be mired in that most depressing state of average, of just getting by, while the leader will be consumed in putting out the next fire and constantly having to be on hand because nobody seems to be getting along. But using your influence to build the trusting relationships necessary for success, will grow your people and your teams, and will result in engaged and productive employees that are eager to solve problems and set the bar higher. That influence is how you grow out. Growing always is a reflection of the leadership journey. Just when you think you’ve got everything and everyone figured out, along comes that special someone or something and you realize your skills could use some improvement. Just like life, leadership requires your attention to it to make it grow. Your legacy isn’t about what you did, it’s about what you left. Did you grow your replacement? Is your team ready to push past the level you took them to? It is said that the greatest compliment you can pay to a real leader is that they don’t miss you, because all the ways you did things, all the ways you grew people are still in place and the leader you grew to replace you gets it! Now that’s a legacy you can be proud of. And that’s a result of growing always. There is no greater challenge you will undertake than leadership. It is the toughest and yet most rewarding thing you will ever do. So remember these three things: Grow yourself (Growing Up), grow your teams (Growing out), and keep your true legacy in mind (Growing Always). Good Luck.
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