How tall will you grow?

In a recessionary economy, every business leader worth their salt is keen to stimulate growth to get the economy back on track. But growth will never occur at corporate or country level until it occurs at an individual level – in the hearts and minds of people.

How committed, then, are you to growing yourself as a leader so that you can help take people to a better future? Here are a few suggestions to get you started …

1 Learn new skills

Because change has increased exponentially, the skills that got you to where you are today will not get you to where you still need to go. You therefore have to be prepared to learn new skills you didn’t necessarily want to learn. Cultivate the habit of learning new things, not in a random fashion but new things that will be relevant to the work you will be required to do in the future. Look at what’s coming down the line in your field and start learning the skills that you see will help you remain relevant in the future.   

2 Learn from the challenges you encounter

We are all facing unprecedented challenges in our working roles. We can choose to complain about this or embrace those challenges as opportunities to help us grow. Muscles don’t grow from being rested. They grow from resistance. The same applies to us. We grow through dealing with the resistance of challenges we encounter in our jobs and daily lives. Physical exercise can be uncomfortable, but is necessary for a long and healthy life. Dealing with challenges in the workplace is uncomfortable but necessary because this helps us grow.

3 Improve your people managing skills

With the prospect of artificial intelligence taking over many routine and repetitive jobs in the near future, there will be a growing need for people who can really manage people well. Let’s face it, no-one wants to be managed by an AI robot! People skills will be in short supply. Those who have highly polished people skills will be in demand and will probably be able to pick the positions they want. If you want to make sure of having a place in the economy of the future, make sure you polish your people skills.  

4 Learn from anyone

There was a time when we all learned from the past – from people older and more experienced than us because they had learned things that we hadn’t learnt and so passed on their knowledge to us. That was in a time of old school knowledge acquisition. Today, people are exposed to knowledge of all types from a very young age, giving them an opportunity to become experts at a young age. So put your pride in your pocket and be willing (and humble) enough to learn from anyone who can teach you what you want or need to learn, even if they’re half your age. If they know something you don’t but need to know, find a way to learn from them. An obvious example is social media skills. Don’t even think about asking someone older than you (unless you’re 10 or 11 years old) to teach you social media skills. They won’t be able to. You’ll need to look to a youngster to teach you such skills, so do it.

5 Accept failures as part of growing

In the past, failure was frowned upon and everyone avoided acknowledging or admitting to their failures. This is no longer the case. It’s now recognised that, given the disruptive workplace, the risk of failure is high, so more people are failing. Failure has therefore lost a lot of the stigma and negative connotations it previously had. People fail fast, learn from it, get over it and become successful. The quicker you get over your failures, the quicker you can move to success. 

How tall will you grow?

Physically, we will all grow to different heights, something over which we have no control. That doesn’t stop us from growing to our full potential. And that’s the important point. Make sure you grow to your full potential – whatever that is.

It was Abe Lincoln who said, “You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.”

If you want to thrive in the future, grow, grow, grow yourself to your full potential. Nobody else can tell you what that is. Only you know what you’re capable of, so work toward that goal and then, just for good measure, add a little bit more onto your goal. Why? Because chances are you will have underestimated yourself and can do a lot more than you first imagined!

Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine,, @HRFuturemag, and assists executives to prevent, reverse and delay ageing, and achieve self-mastery.

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