Vince Lombardi had it right when he stated that, “Leaders aren’t born, they are made.” Leadership is a process. And, like any process it begins by envisioning a desired outcome and creating a framework of the steps to achieve that outcome. Sometimes there are real obstacles that prevent us from achieving our goals. By conducting a personal evaluation, we can often identify and address things that are standing in our way.
Below are three common obstacles that can often derail leadership success.
You don’t have the time. Believe me, I get it. With our daily personal and professional demands, we’re all pulled a million different directions and finding the time to make lifelong learning a priority isn’t easy. Fortunately, there are many time and cost effective ways we can continue to learn and develop as leaders. Read a chapter in a professional development book, hop over to your favorite blog, or listen to a podcast or Ted Talk—there are thousands of free and relatively quick opportunities for bite-size learning. If all you’ve got is 15 minutes, take it. Sometimes that’s all you need to learn something valuable or get inspiration for your next great idea.
You’re comfortable. You know your job inside and out and you do it well. That might be fine for today, but can you say in all earnestness that you possess the skills for tomorrow? Staying current with emerging trends is essential to future-proofing your career. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own professional development—not your boss, not your organization, just you.
You’re resistant to change. Are you making excuses that prevent you from taking actionable steps to achieve your goals? Maybe it’s fear of failure or ridicule or perhaps you don’t want to create extra work and responsibility for yourself. Sticking with the status quo is certainly easier, but is that who you are? Is that what you want? Challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and be prepared for life-altering growth, new skills, and new perspectives that will help you compete. No one ever said that change was easy, but anything worth achieving usually isn’t.
When you acknowledge that overcoming these mental hurdles are intrinsic steps in the leadership process, you are less likely to give up on your goals. At this stage in my career, I’m aware of my obstacles and challenges so I can tackle them head on. This has been instrumental in helping me grow as a leader while helping my team thrive.