Growth happens slowly in nature. Even when something is called “fast”, it’s imperceptible in the moment it’s happening. My youngest son grew four inches per year, three years in a row. That was fast by his pediatrician’s standards. But we couldn’t see him growing. We could only see that suddenly he was closer to my shoulder or passing up his older brother. Internal growth works the same way. Expanding your leadership perspective and growing your emotional intelligence isn’t really something other people can see happening. They just notice the results.
True confession time
Over the past 10 years, I’ve packed on over 50 pounds. It happens to a lot of people as they move out of their 30’s and through their 40’s, I realize. But somehow that’s not a comfort to me. Gaining weight is another type of growth. In my case, it’s not a positive one. As I approach 50, I’m starting to realize that my weight gain has put me at risk for health conditions which affect plenty of other people in my family. I like my life and would like to keep on living it for a good long while yet. It’s time to do something.
I make no judgments about how others choose to handle their weight loss. I hope the same courtesy is extended to me. I’m choosing to follow a Mediterranean diet and get my butt moving 30+ minutes per day. I also drink about half my body weight in water daily. I’ve been doing that consistently for three whole days. Why haven’t I seen a result yet?!?
Sounds ridiculous, right? But that’s our mentality about all kinds of positive growth. It’s never fast enough.
What does this have to do with leadership?
The same is true for expanding your leadership perspective and growing your emotional intelligence. This shit takes time and effort. You very well may (and should) experience some moments of “wow!” in your results. But overall, it’s a long game. Emotional intelligence develops over time. Leadership styles develop over time. Trying to make a complete overhaul overnight ensures failure. Instead, take it one step at a time.
Pick one area of emotional intelligence or your leadership style.
Within that one area, pick one challenge.
Ask yourself what triggers you to respond in a way that you find unproductive, even though you may feel like you can’t help but to respond that way.
Focus on a concrete and specific situation.
Then decide what you want to try doing instead.
Oh, and be nice to yourself.
Growth takes time.
And that’s okay.