In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, many people are searching for easy, cheap, and fast solutions to achieve success. Let me give you the best business advice ever: sell shortcuts to people, and you will get rich!
There is a forever increasing popularity of quick-fix solutions. Marketing campaigns are bombarding us with “easy and fast” qualities: seven figures in seven days, 5000 followers in two hours, increase muscle mass without working out, weight loss pills, 10x your business in a month, etc.
We are naturally attracted to the path of least resistance because our brain is wired to conserve energy. It’s not bad in itself; I mean, why take the long road when there is a shortcut? It makes no sense. But here is the thing, it doesn’t work for success and even less to become a great leader! It takes hard work, intentionality, and commitment. Personal development is the key to becoming a better leader. In this article, we will explore the importance of working on yourself to become a better person and a better leader.
The Solution is Within You
Most leaders are constantly trying to improve their business, the performance of their team, or their impact and influence. It’s easy to fall into the trap of seeking external solutions such as improving systems and procedures, searching for the latest tools, or sending their team to training and courses.
While there is a place for that, the most critical solution for effective leadership is not found outside but rather within. So why don’t they try to improve themselves in the first place? Because it seems easier and more comfortable to try to change others.
Extraordinary leaders understand that their businesses will grow as they grow; that achieving success is not solely dependent on the latest technology or training program but rather on their ability to inspire and lead from a place of self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-discipline.
Yes, being a leader is challenging! It is assuming the responsibility of keeping everyone on course and making sure the journey is a success. A leader must have a clear vision of where they’re going and communicate it to the team. So they must inspire and motivate others, make tough decisions, build relationships, provide guidance and support, and hold themselves and others accountable. And on top of that, they need to manage themselves!
The Importance of Self-Development
Leadership is the ultimate self-less position. Some think that when they get the title, it is all about “me, me, me!” But a leader is there to SERVE his team so that they can complete the mission. Unfortunately, some leaders use their people and abuse their power to make people serve them. Too often, we hear employees complaining that all execs are just egocentric jerks. But I guess that if you are a leader and reading this, you don’t fall into this category, or at least you are looking for change (You are at the right place, Leadership2 will not let you down!).
You establish yourself as an extraordinary leader by who you are, not what you have or do. To be truly at the service of your team requires hard work, intentionality, commitment, and self-discipline. It is a conscious process. So, if you’re a leader seeking to make a real impact, stop looking for an external solution and turn inward. Take the time to develop yourself, and you’ll find that you have the power to create real change and achieve extraordinary results for yourself, your team, and your business.
The Impact of Emotions on Leader Behavior
The biggest danger as a leader is to lose track of your behavior and moral compass. It is not entirely your fault, as you barely have accountability structures in place to keep you in check. Humans are not operating in 1 and 0; we are complex beings. Our emotions and feelings play a significant role in shaping our behavior. They can influence the way we think, act, and interact with others.
For example, if we feel anxious, we become more alert and focused, which can help us react quickly to potential threats. When we are too emotional, we may not think rationally, leading us to make impulsive decisions. For instance, if we are feeling angry, we may act aggressively or say things we regret later.
It’s neither good nor bad, but the problems come when we let our emotions arising from one situation influence our behavior in other situations.
We all have traumas, pain, and emotional breakdown; that’s life! All of that, consciously or unconsciously, affect our behavior and how we treat others. Therefore, it is essential that leaders develop the capacity to self-regulate so they can deal with themselves and truly be at the service of the people he leads.
Your Business is a Reflection of Who You Are
To be a better leader, you have to become a better person. That’s the shortcut! So let me ask you, where are you not showing up as your best?
- Are you cheating on your partner at home, but you expect trust at work?
- Are you overweight and sick, but you want productivity and performance in your team?
- Is your environment a mess, but you want discipline?
- Are you unhappy, but you want an uplifting organizational culture?
As a leader, you are in a position of influence, and your team looks up to you for guidance and inspiration. What kind of model do you want to be?
Elevating your business through self-mastery means being committed to improving yourself. To be a great leader is to help others become the best version of themselves by becoming the best version of yourself.
The consequences of not working on personal growth and development as a leader are impacting everyone, from the employees to the customers, and the ripple effect it has on their families, etc. The leader sooner or later loses his cognitive flexibility, becomes resistant to change, and fails to innovate. His problems bias his judgments and impair his communication skills and decision-making ability. How to navigate complex business challenges if you struggle in your own life. You got the point; it doesn’t end up well.
3 keys to keep yourself in check
It is usually uncomfortable to listen to our thoughts and feel our feelings. But denial doesn’t lead anywhere. To increase your self-awareness, you must practice recognizing and understanding your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and how they impact you and those around you. Do a reality check often, and identify your strengths and weaknesses and the areas where you can improve. Take the time to think and seek feedback from others.
Self-regulation is being able to effectively manage your thoughts, feelings, and actions in different scenarios. As you can imagine, it doesn’t appear overnight! As a leader, it’s crucial to be aware of your emotions and impulses and have the capacity to control them in a way that aligns with your goals and values (so first, you need to be clear on those, but that is for another conversation). This skill is essential for remaining calm, focused, and in control during tough situations, making wise decisions, and building strong relationships with your team.
Start by paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations in your body. This can be done through practices such as meditation, journaling, or seeking feedback from others. The second step is to practice self-control by intentionally choosing how to respond to a situation rather than reacting impulsively (take a deep breath!). Finally, it’s important to engage in self-care by prioritizing activities that promote well-being (exercise, healthy eating, quality sleep,…).
If you want to be an extraordinary leader, you have to be a better role model. Not in what you are doing but in who you are being.
My years in the military taught me many things, but one of the most powerful was developing psychological discipline and mental toughness. One of the dreaded final tests in the commando-paratrooper training is the ten-mile run which we call the “speed march.”
The rule is simple; you are dressed in your combat uniform and carry your helmet and chest webbing with basic gear: three magazines, canteen carry (one liter of water, which you are not allowed to drink), helmet, shovel, and rifle. You must run the ten miles (sixteen kilometers) in under one hundred minutes after completing a rope parkour, an obstacle run, and a “one-man carry.”
That sounds kind of doable, but believe me, running with this amount of equipment in a state of mental and physical fatigue is difficult. However, the real challenge was not in that: we were not allowed to have a watch!
So we couldn’t manage our speed by checking the time. Thus the only way to be sure to complete the run in under one hundred minutes is to run as fast as you can! The whole time! From the very first to the last step, there is only one way to do it: give it your all, show up as your best, and don’t give up! That’s the kind of discipline necessary to be an extraordinary leader; you have to commit to excellence, even when nobody is watching.
“The way you do anything is the way you do everything.”
In a nutshell
Personal development is crucial for leadership. Personal development is a continuous process that requires effort and commitment. As a leader, working on yourself (and learning to deal with yourself first) will help you to develop the skills and qualities necessary to lead others effectively. It enables you to become a better person and a better leader, navigate complex business challenges, and create a culture of excellence. Nobody will push you to dive into personal growth; it is your responsibility to invest in yourself and encourage your team to do the same. Remember, to be a great leader, you must first become a great person. As Brendon Burchard said, if you want more, you have to be more.
Written by François de Neuville