In my last couple of blogs I’ve been focusing on my new book, Great Leaders Grow, which I wrote with Mark Miller. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a leader, this book can make a difference in your life—because everyone is a potential leader. Any time you seek to influence the thinking, behavior, or development of people, either personally or professionally, you are taking on the role of a leader. All of us can be leaders, whether it’s at work or in our homes or communities. And continuous personal growth is part of what makes a great leader.
In addition to Gaining Knowledge, which I talked about last time, another important move toward becoming a leader for life is to Reach Out to Others—the R in our GROW model. One of the best ways to reinforce your own learning is to help others grow by teaching them what you have learned. This doesn’t need to be a formal situation where you facilitate a seminar or teach in a classroom. It can be as informal and friendly as a lunchtime conversation. In fact, storytelling is one of the best ways to share what you know with someone else in a memorable way.
Look for “teachable moments”—opportunities to challenge others to grow. For instance, I reach out every day by sending a voicemail to everyone in our company. My morning message usually includes something I learned while working with a client, something I read in a book, or maybe just an interesting observation that I felt like passing along. I believe these daily messages reinforce our organizational values and also strengthen our close sense of community with each other, even though we now have team members all over the world.
If you pay attention, you might just encounter a teachable moment while you are driving your daughter to soccer practice, having a phone conversation with a colleague across the country, or grabbing a cup of coffee with some co-workers in the break room. When we share what we learn, we model self-leadership as well as personal growth. It gives us credibility to challenge others to grow.
What is something you recently learned that you could reach out and share with people in your organization? How will you do it?