Growing Further, Growing UpMay 05, 2022
Do you know that feeling of knowing where a person is today on their personal development journey only based on how they sound when they talk?
You meet a colleague or former colleague who is a couple of months into their job as a first time manager or leader. And they talk passionately about their plans and the results the organisation expects from them or about the multitude of projects they have now to juggle. And at a certain point, you catch a sense of worry when they acknowledge laughingly they don't know anymore how to prioritise because they cannot tell the difference between what is urgent and what is important, because there are so many things to do and their manager expects them to have things arranged, figured out, sorted, solved or in control all the time. And because of that it seems there are not enough hours in a working day to finish EVERYTHING they are expected to do.
And another 3 months down the road you meet them again. And now the stories are even more about how many things are on their shoulders and “how on earth” will they be able to survive this increased pressure EVERYONE is putting on them: their team members ALWAYS wait to be told what is to be done, their boss has ONLY requirements and seems to not see how much time and dedication they put in, even some peers become now unsupportive and less collaborative than at the beginning, and furthermore, at home things are not going well and they feel guilty for not giving enough support to the family.
Now, suppose you meet them again one year down the road. Did you notice there are still good chances for your former colleague - who was so enthusiastic at the beginning of their promotion - to now be all stressed out, unable to pass their ideas or making the desired impact, frustrated for not being listened or understood, in spite of their very good starting point? And what narrative do they have now? They sound and act powerless, in defence, with spikes of verbal attack against those they perceive are putting them in a dangerous position or do something they interpret as being unfair to them. And their focus spirals around how “the world” cooperates against them, hardly unaware about what message they convey through what they say, how they say it or what they feel.
You read this piece and might say: yes, but not all people will go through this road! Afterall, I am a manager and I did pretty well so far. And you are right!
On the opposite spectrum, successful people will sound as if “their inner parts have fallen into the right place” and they now are in charge of the handles of making things work outside and inside them. They found a way to outgrow their former professional self, to make a serious shift of perspective, and develop further their inner resources of power, authority, calm and wise positivity. In talking to them you know they are not anymore your former colleague and you really enjoy rediscovering them in their new identity.
What is the difference?
The difference has nothing to do with technical knowledge, although that helps a lot at any time.
The difference lays in the way the second category of people:
💠 Learnt to set realistic expectations for themselves, others and everything they manage
💠 Learnt to formulate new measures for their progress or their success
💠 Allowed themselves to be imperfect and be seen as being imperfect
💠 Learnt to allow themselves being vulnerable and in the process got power
💠 Learnt that courage does not mean absence of fear
💠 Learnt to set healthy boundaries in their lives
💠 Learnt to dissociate their value from their acheivements
💠 Learnt the value of being patient with themselves and others
💠 Learnt to accept what they cannot influence or change
💠 Learnt to be happy every day irrespective of having been able to reach their targets
💠 Learnt to recognise what is not anymore useful in their way of being and acting
💠 Learnt to let go any surplus luggage and travel light
But probably the most significant difference to be observed is the ease they have now in juggling what one year ago used to be stressful situations. And their balanced optimism gives everyone they meet the feeling of reliability, trust and confidence.
Yes, growing in a management position is also about growing further your inner resources you use to emotionally respond to stressful or difficult situations in your life. And, at the beginning of our professional life, this growth can also be about growing up. And first time managers need to know this is OK, it is a normal process which they need to drive with awareness. And because of that, their manager or director will keep a vigilant eye to make sure it happens.
But even in more mature ages, this growth never stops. With every layer of new understanding, there is a new perspective revealed to you. And a new potential growth cycle starts from there. And you will know for sure when that moment arrives. How? The way you feel is your indicator: uninspired, stale, demotivated, restless, frustrated … you know it. You already have been there. It starts again and it requires all your focus today to save your tomorrow’s time lost in life experiences you wouldn’t otherwise welcome.
Where are you on this cycle?
What is the perspective in front of your eyes?
How do you feel?
Let’s explore your hunch in a discovery call and bring some clarity in.
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