[This post is part of a series on Coaching Highlights from coaching Columbia Business School students. If you don't see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view the series, where you'll get more value than reading just this post.]
Leaders learn and push themselves to develop personally constantly and consistently. They don’t see it as a burden, just something they do. Nor do they feel compelled from outside to do it. They enjoy learning. Nor do they feel like they need to accomplish some goal. They just enjoy doing things better. At least that’s what I’ve seen and experienced.
One of the reasons stems from an effect of yesterday’s post that working on one complex, long-term thing at a time — the more you develop yourself, the faster and more fully you can develop yourself the next time. Like most skills, you learn personal and leadership development skills and they improve with practice.
- With experience, transformations become simpler, faster, and more rewarding.
- As you expectation of success increases, so does your motivation.
- You become more resilient, meaning problems and setbacks affect you less.
Here are some of the skills you develop with any personal development. You learn to
- Foresee obstacles before they happen
- Overcome obstacles after they happen
- Withstand discouragement from self and others
- Resist giving up
- Find emotional reward faster once you start
- Maintain your motivation
- Identify areas to improve earlier
- Find resources to work with sooner
And many other skills.
So even if you feel like you’re only working on improving your decision-making skills, you’re also making it easier and faster to improve your teamwork skills when you get to them. And when you start that long-term exercise habit, you’re also making it easier and faster to improve your relationship with your boss in its time.
Everybody who has challenged themselves to develop personally has faced challenges like these
- Feeling fake
- Saying to themselves something like “I’ve been working on this for six months and I’m no better off than when I started. What’s the point?”
- Facing questions from family, friends, and colleagues
- Losing motivation
- Forgetting goals
- Running out of resources
- Facing unanticipated challenges
and so on. Overcoming or foreseeing these challenges — or using them to propel you to greater success — each takes skills nobody has until they develop them.