Do Leaders Create the Growth Ceiling?

This statement caught my attention in John C. Maxwell’s book, “The Self-Aware Leader”:

"Most leaders want to grow their business or organization. But what is the one thing –– more than any other –– that will determine the growth of that organization? The growth of the people in the organization. And what determines the people's growth? The growth of their leader!" 

Avenues for Leadership Growth

I polled my online community to gain insight into how they, as leaders, are developing themselves. Fifty-four percent resoundingly said they fuel their growth as leaders by attending training and conferences.

These are practical approaches for leadership development. Yet, the trick is taking the learning and transitioning it effectively to application.

There is nothing more energizing at the moment than experiencing a captivating speaker – whether a keynote or concurrent session speaker or training facilitator.  

When I am in those learning situations, I take copious notes and commit to putting into action what I’ve learned.

Sometimes that transition to action happens. Sometimes it does not.

Transfer Knowledge to Application

I have learned a few nuggets to help with the transition of knowledge to application:

💫 Survey the landscape. Consider everything you have learned and determine what is directly relevant to your vision and goals.

💫 Don’t try to do everything. For example, choose one or two things to take action on instead of boiling the lake.

💫 Be consistent. Execute your plan and be consistent; resist giving up or giving in because it stretches you.

💫 Give yourself grace. While commitment is essential, there are times when priorities shift. Extend forgiveness to yourself when this happens.

💫 Engage an accountability partner. Share with someone who has the objectivity and capabilities to help you to stretch – to move beyond your comfort zone into a new territory of growth.

The So What

Maxwell surmises that leaders establish the bar for growth in an organization. If the leader is not growing, the people are not likely growing. 

The lack of leaders developing could contribute to the Great Reshuffle. 

Employees may voluntarily leave their jobs searching for more fulfilling roles in organizations where leaders invest in personal growth, laying the runway for employees’ development and growth.  

I would love to hear from you.  Let me know what works for you in transferring learning to application.

Lillian Davenport, SPHR, SHRM – SCP, CTACC, Principal, End View Solutions, LLC

Lillian Davenport is a coach, consultant, and women’s leadership strategist. Her leadership program, Maximize Her LeadershipSM, guides women in bringing together their talents, strengths, and executive presence to experience a thriving career.

Lillian’s career as a human resources leader includes roles at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Woodforest National Bank, and American International Group, Inc. (AIG), where she leveraged employee relations, and diversity, equity, and inclusion expertise in leadership development.