Being limitless in a leadership context means we are forever learning, unlearning, learning again and evolving our thinking and our ways. It never ends but in a good way! The minute I see people rest on their laurels and they think they have hit a ceiling of growth I get excited to share new ways, innovation and to reinvigorate their potential. As leaders we need to be coachable, teachable and open to take ownership of our growth. To become a “limitless leader” we need to have true commitment to our leadership through a clear purpose, self-belief and motivation and a growth mindset to get us there. We need to be effective and authentic communicators and deep connectors.
I believe there are six stages that we could be at, at any time as depicted in the above model. These stages are not positions but choices as to where we sit. This can be dependent on many variables such as what you value, what you want and where you are at professionally and personally. It also has a lot to do with your level of self-awareness and in the business of our lives today, it is often overlooked and this can be dangerous.
These stages are simple and a great way to gauge where you sit right now and in the future. You may be near the top (limitless) but when in a new role or industry or leading a new team or project, this may change.
Here you are doing the work, you may have narrow responsibilities and are almost in auto pilot mode and most probably disengaged to some extent. This is the lowest end of the ladder, where you are limited in more ways than one. You are demotivated, plodding along and your growth is stunted.
You manage yourself quite well here and are engaged to a degree. You aren’t running so to speak but what you do, you do well. You are not reaching outside your comfort zone to grow your leadership; self-management is your focus. You may not know what you don’t know here, so opening awareness is the key.
You are engaged and engaging others and at this stage you are in flow in managing your team. This could be a direct team or indirect reports you may manage. I see many people at this stage and the exciting next progression is to transition from a management mindset to that of a leadership mindset. In this stage, you are still “in” the team so to speak and are working heavily at an operational level.
Like an apple ready to pick you have made the jump from managing to leading. At this stage, expectations are being met in all areas and there is both accountability and ownership from your end and that of the team. This is where you are leading and are positioned above the line; you are empowering and enabling others. You are doing less of the operational driven tasks and you are focused more “on” the team.
Those you now lead are exceeding expectations under your leadership. You are leading leaders so to speak. They are self-reliant; own what they are doing and you are simply guiding, coaching and facilitating change and progress. You are setting the vision and strategy and developing your leadership in order to leverage yourself to lead others and the decisions they need to make.
This is nirvana! Well done if you are here and if you are, you need to work at sustaining this. All these stages are obtainable; it’s the sustainability to move up and stay there that can be the challenge and therefore, the opportunity. At this stage, you are leading your organisation and industry. You are cross-functional, co creative and a strategist. You stand out!
As Jim Rohn would say, “If you want to have more then you need to become more.” Jim would also suggest that people should make becoming a millionaire a goal – not so much because of what they got through that goal, but because of what they became as a result of aiming high.
Make a note to where you believe you are. Be honest, you need to know where you are to bridge this gap and become a limitless leader!
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