3 Ways Personal Development Makes You a Better Leader

Most of us have experienced working for the "bad manager". Professionally, it creates high turn-over rates and low team morale. Personally, it causes anxiety, stress, and discouragement. Nobody wants to sit under this type of leadership, yet it seems all too common in the workplace. Nevertheless, that doesn't have to be your reality. 

Whether you're transitioning into a leadership role or simply wanting to improve your leadership skills, the key is to focus on you. That may seem contradictory since your focus is on guiding a team towards company goals and objectives. However, I assure you that personal development will ultimately impact your leadership style and your team's success! Why? Brene Brown, author of "Daring Greatly", said "What we know matters, but who we are matters more."

If that's the case, developing your character should come before advancing your position.  

So what are some simple ways to focus on personal development?

First, identify your shortcomings. Having a realistic perspective of yourself is key in self-improvement. You can't change what you aren't even aware of. Ask close friends and colleagues to speak truth into your life. It may feel uncomfortable, but it's worth the growth that you'll experience in the future. 

Second, invite those opportunities for growth. It's one thing to identify your negative qualities and entirely another to challenge them. Have uncomfortable conversations. Apologize whether it's necessary or not. Be willing to do things you may not want to do so you can learn new skills. Leadership in itself will bring about these challenges, but it's better to walk into the role having already confronted them! 

Lastly, be intentional about developing healthy mental and physical habits that facilitate your emotional growth and maturity. Like any journey, it will take time. At the same time, personal development has specific benefits that affect your leadership skills in both the immediate moments and those of the future. Here are a few of those benefits to keep you encouraged:

Personal development keeps you humble.

As a leader or aspiring leader, your journey in personal development will help you understand why you do and say certain things in addition to how you treat others. You will gain peace, closure, and healing as you address the root of your character failings. It will humble you as you relate to others in the workplace. No longer will you look down on others or speak to them in a condescending manner. Instead, you will see people as equals working together to reach a common goal. No longer will you secretly struggle with insecurity and publically manifest your doubts by sabotaging others. Instead, you will use your position to personally and profesionally  improve the lives of others.   

It takes the pressure off.

As you approach mental and emotional health, you will become more secure in who you are as an individual. You will make decisions from a place of confidence instead of self-preservation. As you grow in character, you'll find it easier to be transparent and vulnerable with others. Instead of hiding behind a title, you can and will relate to others from a real place. Contrary to popular belief, the best leaders are those with whom people feel they can travel not those in whom they can merely follow behind. Walking with a person requires you to be open to a certain point.    

It keeps your motivations (and your pursuit) pure.

As you grow in character and in your leadership role, you'll soon realize (if not already) that being a successful leader requires a lot of intangible skills. Integrity, responsibility, consistency, empathy, perseverence are just a few of those qualities that make up a good leader. If you haven't been pursuing personal growth and development, those qualities will be lacking. Personal development, however, encourages these characteristics by continually putting you in position to exercise them. As you exercise them, you will almost always be aware of the "why" behind your thoughts and actions. It will push you to be a better person instead of just being a boss. 

Continue your journey and you will succeed personally and professionally in addition to making a huge impact on the people around you!

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