Leaders have a default position to growth and progress; we want to get things done, accomplish things, make things have, move things forward.
Sound like you?
The intrinsic motivation to create, improve, and bring to life is deeply imbedded in all the motivated leaders I know. Rarely do I see a lack of motivation in a leader. At times I see a lack of clarity in the process, though.
Motivation gets you started. Process gets you done.
I’ve doubled down on reading this year, for too long I’ve let the discipline, and the joy, of sitting and stretching my mind with new ideas be something that I felt like took too long. Now I give myself permission to read 10 pages a day. Just 10. It flys by and a small set each day adds up to more than a book a month. I do it in the mornings, after Gym but before the family starts their day. Ask me about my night time Novel habits too, I’m on my third fiction book for the year as well 😉
Right now I’m coming to the conclusion of Angela Duckworth’s Book Grit. Her TED Talk is inspiring despite being on the shorter side. In her book Duckworth unpacks her research on grit as a key enabler of success in leadership, work and life. It’s refreshingly honest in the claims backed by research and the findings that are still being unpacked.
Duckworth uses a really useful model for working out what you want to get gritty about. She says you discover, develop, and deepen.
Here’s my take on this model for growing in our leadership.
ONE / Discover
Find what is required for your next level of influence.
What will give you the most impact as a leader right now?
What character trait? What skill? Can you name it clearly?
Can you describe what it looks like when it’s “done” (Attribution: Brene Brown)
Knowing what you need to grow in and what success looks like is critical to your motivation and your direction.
Finish this sentence “I most need to develop my leadership in ___________________ .”
TWO / Develop
Work consistently on that specific issue.
The reason you describe success is so you know what to do next to grow in this area. When you do the work, you know what the work is doing.
Become aware of the areas you are unaware of and are costing you influence. Be specific about what it is the sharper skill looks like or the more personalised character trait appears as in your day to day world.
Then go to work. Unlearn and relearn. Practice accurately.
THREE / Deepen
Continue to embed the skill more deeply over time.
It might be hard to see the transition between the develop and the deepen stage, an expert guide might come in handy here to help you point out proficiency and mastery. Or at least increasing mastery.
Like keeping fit, it takes a real stretch to get there from a standing start. Hard workouts, disciplined diet, sore muscles. Yet over time you become accustomed to it and you forget the early days but remember the stretch goals in front of you.
A coach works well here, they see the nuance, notice the progress and point out what’s next. The gains might be incremental in your perspective, but the returns are exponential in the world of your family, team, and organisation.
So What now?
Choose one trait that will give you the most impact over the next 30 days. Name it clearly. Describe what it looks like when you’re doing it well and set resources aside to work on it over 30 days. Ask a mentor for help and a colleague for feedback. Keep a journal to record your progress.
Discover, develop, deepen. A simple yet profound process for making your leadership even better.
Leaders worth following – Culture worth reproducing.