Jamie is a student I coach. She’s a high school Spanish teacher and an outstanding professional. However, she’s not at the top of her game because she had it easy. Her first three years as an educator were grueling in many ways. Jamie had long hours, dealt with challenging students and unreasonable parents, and if that wasn’t enough, some of her colleagues were difficult as well. Jamie rose above those challenges because she’s a leader.
What about you? Are you the leader you want to be? Here are three ways for you to take on the growth mindset of a leader:
Invest in yourself:
Jamie has paid her own way to many conferences, purchased books and videos to further her knowledge and will soon begin earning her master’s degree. She wasn’t told to do any of these things—she took it upon herself. If you want to be given more leadership opportunities, give yourself more learning opportunities. Be (as Google calls it) a “Learning Animal.” Make sure your learning and growth plan includes not only the technical aspects of your job, but also includes what sets leaders apart: their people skills.
Develop your interpersonal skills:
Jamie seems to be naturally gifted when it comes to connecting with others and collaborating with her colleagues. Even so, she has encountered several students, parents and colleagues that have been difficult to work with. What does Jamie do? She challenges herself and thinks, “What can I do differently to make this relationship work better?” That’s the mindset of a leader. Even if connecting and inspiring others comes naturally to you, think of someone who is challenging and view that relationship as your opportunity to fine-tune your people skills. You’ll be a better leader for it.
Take some risks:
There have been times when Jamie was asked to take on something she didn’t have the experience or training for. Instead of playing it safe and saying “no” to her challenging opportunities, Jamie took risks and learned along the way. That’s what leaders do. They embrace challenges and risk failure. Today, choose something you’ve been avoiding and embrace it. Learn a new skill, share an idea with your boss, or ask for a higher level of responsibility.
–Alan Allard, Executive Coach