3 Ways to Level Up as a Leader

by Jim Walter

When I say I’m happy you’re reading this, it’s not just hyperbole.  You’re wildly successful, and I’m elated you’d take the time out of an undoubtedly busy schedule to read my work. If I were to guess, your career has already been one for the history books. You’ve withstood incredible odds and survived. Now, it’s time to push even further. How do you prepare for what’s next?

Now is a critical time…maybe you’re ready to scale up, or you’ve encountered a unique problem, or hiring/training/retaining people has become more complex than ever. Each stage of the leadership journey reflects both how far you’ve come, and how far you can continue to go. The secret is leveraging what you’ve already learned to catapult yourself into the next level. 

  1. Learn From Your Failures

You’ve arrived in the present through a series of decisions and choices. Some were wise – others weren’t. You’ve likely already welcomed your fair share of critics who make judgments about your wisdom, maturity and how you handled adversity. The trick is to sift through these opinions knowing that some will be valuable and others…not so much. Remember that critics weren’t in the arena with you – fighting it out to get where you are.

Take an honest inventory of the moves – both personal and career-related – that led you to where you are today. What didn’t go well, and what did you learn about yourself and your journey? 

  1. Repeat What Works

Good leaders always do several things:

  • Read voraciously.

Consciously seek sources that challenge your own internal bias. Read broadly and widely – especially from sources you disagree with. Fight against the natural echo chamber we often find ourselves in.

  • Develop your ability to comprehend and work with complex facts and data.

Even if you’re not working in a technical field, push yourself to move past impressions and feelings and get into hard data. What facts are there to be found?

  • Study people.

Learn about the psychology of what motivates individuals and groups. Interpreting meaning, discovering patterns, and understanding what makes people tick is key to retaining quality people on your team.

  1. Develop Grit

No matter how you’re looking to level up, you’re involved in intense competition to accomplish what you want.  Sometimes competitors, or even those inside your organization will lose focus and nip at you critically. This type of negativity is best described by the words of the great General Ackbar (of Star Wars fame) –  “It’s a trap!” It’s foolishness.  Maintain your purpose and focus.  

When others wish you would fail or ask you to stay put…push forward.  And whether in competition or everyday life, resist the temptation to compare your situation with others…as President Theodore Roosevelt once quipped, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  You have gifts, talents, passions, and opportunities…seize them.

Reach Out to Us

If you’re feeling the stress of leveling up in your leadership role, seek out additional support. A positive outcome is more likely if you surround yourself with the right support, team, and attitudes. The Intention Collective is here to partner with you in all respects. Learn how we grow and develop leaders, and reach out for a consultation with us.

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