Leaders want to grow. They want to mature. They want to stay current. However, sometimes you need to find ways to grow that are different then the norm. You can learn in many different ways. I have tried to always be conscious of my need to continue growing as a leader. Here are some ideas from my experiences, that are a little different then you would find in a leadership blog or book.
Make a friend not like you
At your workplace or neighborhood, there is someone that is not like you. Get to know them. Find out their story. I personally like to talk with the Janitorial staff at my workplace and the security guards at my association where I live. Show them you value their effort to work hard and become friends with someone you could otherwise easily avoid. This is great for growth and you may find a great friend in the process.
Delegate a project
Give something up. Give it up completely. Give it to someone you trust and become a fan. Cheer them on. Offer encouragement. Maybe let them fail. Find opportunities for growth in your leadership by giving something up.
Read for Fun
Leaders are readers. They like to read to strengthen a weakness or find a new way to motivate those they lead. Read something different. Read fiction. Read a romantic novel. Read a classic. Read a comic book. Read something for fun and give your brain something to enjoy and make sure it is far from work.
Make something better
Go back to something you were passionate about in your work. What project would you do differently or can improve. This project does not need to be something that is entirely useful to you now or in the future. It may sound counterproductive; however, once you make an old project better you begin to see how to create something better in the future.
You grow when you workout. A whole lot of studies show you need physical exercise. Not only does it release endorphins to help you think better, but by taking the time to run, lift, swim, bike or whatever, you are giving yourself a natural energy boost and opportunity to think more clearly. Working out always seems to give me a clearer mind.
Find opportunities not roadblocks
This is huge, because problems tend to weigh us down and discourage us. Opportunities challenge and encourage us. Yes, fixing problems is exhilarating for some of us (like me), but only getting back to ground zero pales compared to finding new potential for growth. We can’t avoid handling problems, but we can discipline ourselves to focus more energy towards advancement rather than repair. Try it. In my experience, when I do this, some of the problems I thought needed so much of my attention no longer do. (This is from Ron Edmondson. You can see his website here: http://www.ronedmondson.com/)
Schedule time to daydream
Daydreaming does not have to be a bad thing. Schedule time to think about the future. Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years? What will you be doing? Break free from the monotony of the everyday repetition and see what could possibly await you. By scheduling in this time, you begin to see that the daydream becomes much more purposeful. Think about the future and you may start finding yourself heading there.
What ideas do you have to help yourself grow as a leader?