You can grow in your sweet spot, getting better and better at what you do best, which is great. But being in your sweet spot every day doesn’t always stretch you. In fact, it can start to feel comfortable…too comfortable. Take that to its logical conclusion and you might discover this: spending all your time in your sweet spot can turn your sweet spot into a dead spot. To keep growing, you need to tackle difficult projects, working out new leadership muscles and pushing you to think and grow beyond your current level.
You’ve seen leaders who have stopped growing. It’s not a pretty site.
If you’ve stopped growing as a leader, you’ve stopped leading well.
But often, the leaders who have stopped growing don’t realize it’s happened. After all, the people who lack self-awareness are never aware they lack it.
So…how do you know you’ve stopped growing as a leader? How would you know that’s you?
That’s where curiosity can save us. If you’re curious enough to wonder whether you might be stagnating in your growth as a leader, there’s hope. Those who ask the question and actually want to know the answer will grow.
The stakes are high because if you continue to stagnate long enough, you’ll soon peak as a leader and head into decline. Leaders who have peaked face their own unique set of challenges. I outline 7 signs you’ve peaked as a leader here.
Sadly, too many leaders stop growing long before they stop leading. When that happens, they become leaders in title only.
So, in the hopes of staying fresh, alive and vibrant as leaders, here are 5 significant signs ls you’ve stopped growing. The good news is if you jump on them quickly enough, reversal can be quick and effective.
- You’re more interested in answers than questions
Hey, every leader needs answers. I get that.
But I also know that in seasons where my growth as a person and leader have slowed, one sure sign is that I only want answers; questions start to annoy me or bore me. And that’s a terrible dynamic.
Because breakthroughs are always preceded by questions, not answers.
Questions that threaten that status quo. Questions that probe for things overlooked by others. Questions that imagine what no one thought possible.
The excellence of your leadership is shaped less by the answers you give and more by the questions you ask.
- You sift through new evidence only to back up your existing opinion
Too many leaders, and even organizations, suffer from confirmation bias.
Confirmation bias involves searching through new evidence mainly to find further evidence for your already-formed opinion. For sure, we all do this from time to time. Guilty as a charged.
But for growing leaders, regularly sifting through the evidence should lead to new conclusions, insights and perspectives.
If your insights are wrong, correct them. If there are better perspectives, adopt them.
The implications for your team are deep on this one.
If your eyes aren’t truly open as a leader, you’ll never see the future or seize it.
- You spend almost all of your time doing what you like
I’m all for finding and working in your sweet spot as a leader. Every leader should discover what they’re best at and spend a good chunk of their time in it. I couldn’t agree more.
But you should spend all of your time in your sweet spot? As in 100%?
Maybe, maybe not.