Last week, I encouraged you to become an expert in your business. Now I would like to give you another piece of advice. As a business owner, you spend every hour of your waking day thinking about how to grow your business. You tell your team to increase sales, increase productivity, grow your market, grow your brand, etc. The start-up mentality is founded on starting small and getting bigger. Who could blame them for getting stuck in this mindset? How many people do you see in your life who reach a certain stage of life and stop growing. The whole idea of being “grown up” suggests a clear end to development. But you still see successful CEO’s get to a certain point of personal success and stop improving themselves. It must have been a humbling moment for Steve Jobs to be forced out of his own company. So, here is the honest truth. There is no mountain top. Once you reach one peak, there is a new one to climb.
Winston Churchill said, “The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground.” Real leaders listen to their employees, research, and mentors. Why? Because they know that they cannot lead without followers, nor leaders. If you are just starting your business, or have been at it for twenty years, grow as a leader. Your personal growth will give you the sense of security that comes with expertise. That means being mature enough to ask your team to lead: give the hard truths about deadlines, play devil’s advocate, or simply tell you when your idea isn’t going to work the way you want it to. Susan Cramm wrote last week on her Strategy+Business blog.
Leaders who are unable to tap into the truth only have themselves to blame when things go wrong. Get out of your head and step off your podium…. Have the courage to seek the truth you don’t want to find by trading in the power of your position for the power of information.
This way, your employees feel heard and you benefit from their ideas. The expertise that your employees gain through their work, becomes your own too.
I always encourage my clients and readers to begin a start-up journal. This journal keeps track of your successes, fears, and failures. It will help you to grow as a leader knowing that you started as some place very different from where you are today. A young woman on my team has been using the Happiness Project One Sentence a Day Journal. I think this is a great idea if you feel too busy to keep up with a longer journal. You write one sentence a day for a year, and begin back at the beginning each year for four more years. Each day’s sentence is right under the sentence you wrote last year on the same date. This keeps you thinking about where you were a year ago. You can actually see yourself grown. Try this on your own.
So is your leadership growing with your business? Have you continued to read up on business and your industry? Are you growing as a person to be a better boss? I hope you say yes. If not, this is your first step to getting back on track. Keep growing every day, and you will always be a success.