Self Leadership

Leaders with a relentless passion to keep improving and learning are a force to be reckoned with. Even one or two in a company can make all the difference in the world between yet another team and a remarkable organization. Having innate motivation and continuous momentum will set you apart. Are you constantly improving?

Are You Self-Sufficient?

When I interview candidates for executive roles, I try to assess how much of a growth mindset they have. Naturally, that includes how they grow and improve. After all, not many would be in a position to interview for executive positions without having grown during their careers. However, those who were “pulled up” by necessity time after time and who never took the time to consciously learn and research their roles are less likely to shine in a new company.

Consider your own career path so far: Have you been more proactive or reactive? Did you “get lucky,” or did you have a part in making your luck? For example, most engineering managers I know didn’t get any formal training. Perhaps, if you’re lucky, you got a few days of “management training” and mentoring attention from your boss in the first few months. If that’s the case, how did you establish your foundation as a manager? Have you set personal goals and strived to achieve them? Researched different approaches? Educated yourself?

You don’t have to be a voracious reader, but there’s no denying that leaders with an insatiable hunger to learn and fine-tune themselves are ten times as likely to be effective managers.

Propel Yourself

In case you’re not satisfied with yourself, you might be wondering what you can do. As with many things, the first step is about realizing you have agency and ownership, especially when it comes to your own growth. Do not wait for your boss to decide to coach you or rely on HR to provide you with training. Take charge and define your education plan.

I sought out the best business coach money could buy when I started advising because I felt I had no other choice. You can ask your manager for more active coaching or set growth goals for yourself. Find support systems, like meetups, conferences, or communities (such as the Leading Edge Club).

Assess how well your organization is doing (for example, using the free PDF at the bottom of this article). Equipped with the areas your organization would benefit the most from improving, create a plan to research and focus on that for the next 2-3 months. Make it a habit to learn a bit every day, even if it’s as trivial as reading one page in a book. Once you start seeing the value in investing in yourself, the flywheel will start spinning, and you’ll be unstoppable.