The process of becoming a great leader is a perpetual quest. It is an endless journey of self-discovery. Just like going to church, you can never be “done”. There will be successes along the way, but no failures, only feedback from which you can choose to learn and grow. Sometimes the challenges you face will seem too enormous for you, but you will benefit more from the difficult parts of your travels than the easy roads. When Nelson Mandela was asked what changed about him during years in prison he said he matured in prison. In my experience, age definitely helps improve leadership wisdom, especially since it brings more patience!
There will never be a convenient time for you to invest in developing yourself as a leader. It will never be the most urgent or pressing task on your “to do” list. But it will certainly be the most important thing that you can do to increase your ability to make a positive difference in your work and enhance your overall career success.
You may be fortunate enough to have help: a mentor, coach or guide who provides valuable advice or support in your quest to become a great leader: but no one can give you what you deny yourself. A mentor can help you make best use of the opportunities that you have before you if you are willing to listen openly to their advice.
Do not wait until you are given a position of leadership to become a great leader. Commit today to becoming the kind of leader you admire regardless of your role or title in your organization. Set goals for your leadership development that extend far into the future, clearly imagining yourself as the leader you admire and then taking steps to become more like that leader every day. As you look back on your journey from the far future you will be amazed at your progress and the positive difference that one person can make in the world.
– Kimberly Wiefling is the author of Scrappy Project Management: The 12 Predictable and Avoidable Pitfalls Every Project Faces, hovering among the top project management books in the USA since launch in 2007. She is the founder of Wiefling Consulting, a scrappy global business leadership consultancy committed to enabling her clients to successfully tackle seemingly impossible goals. For the past 3 years she has worked primarily with Japanese companies committed to becoming truly global through transformational leadership and execution with excellence.