Rotary eClub One, District 5450
World's 1st eClub (Jan 2002)

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How to G.R.O.W.! as a Leader

If you are the type of leader that wants to see a team develop to its full potential then you need to do the same. The law of nature is that if a plant isn't growing, it's dying and I believe the same is true of people. Creating a highly engaged workplace begins with a highly engaged leader, the type of leader who is willing to step out of their comfort zone and grow as a person. Here are my five steps for how to do just that.

Get to know yourself

Self awareness, emotional intelligence, personal insight. Call it what you will but those people who are able to learn from their experiences and grow as a result are the one who know themselves. There are many ways to go about doing this . . . taking quizzes, reading personal development books and keeping a journal are just a few. If you are brave why not also enlist the help of family, friends and others who know you well to give you some insights.

Recognise the needs of others

Once you understand yourself it is important to recognise that other people have different views on the world than you. Whether you are talking about cultural, gender-generational, or personality based preferences you need to do all you can to learn more about the needs of others. The truth is that when you help others you grow yourself and that help starts with recognising their needs. Make it your mission to figure out ways to see the world from various perspectives by engaging people in conversations, observing human nature or reading about alternative views.

Open up the communication channels

Don't just talk at people and pretend to listen in response. Find ways to really open up the communication channels so you can have richer conversations. Be willing to be more authentic and to tackle the difficult topics. Learn to read the subtext, to listen to how things are said and what is not said. Put in place mechanisms that allow you and others to communicate on the things that matter in a way that makes a difference.

Work towards an engaging goal

Whether it is a personal or professional goal, if you aren't passionate about where you are heading then your chances of success are minimal. Figure out what engages you, what makes you want to get out of bed early and stay up late. If you can figure out what that is for you then it won't feel like work. Forget what the experts say or what you "should" be aiming for. Listen to your own instincts and create a goal that truly engages you.

! give that something extra

Just doing the minimum to get by is not going to cause you to grow. Those people who are living lives full of energy and passion all tend to have something in common. They give that little bit extra, even if there are no short term rewards and even if no one will ever find out they did it. They do it because they want themselves, and the world, to be better. So what is your something extra going to be? Will you volunteer, document your knowledge to help others, be a mentor? The choice is yours but I can guarantee that, whatever you choose to do, giving more than you get will see you grow.

About the author: Karen Schmidt is a speaker, workshop leader and facilitator. Her website is

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