We often ask the children in our classrooms to step out of their comfort zones to learn and grow. It is not easy – working hard to understand, asking questions, asking for help, getting feedback. All of it can be a bit uncomfortable. Leaders that want to learn and grow need to be able to do the same thing. Are you willing to put in the hard work, ask questions, get help and listen to sometimes difficult feedback?
Peter Bregman, author of Leading with Courage, asks these two questions before he agrees to work with someone – whether coaching his son on the ski slopes or the CEO of a big company:
- Do you want to do better?
- Are you willing to feel the discomfort of putting in more effort and trying new things that will feel weird and different and won’t work right away?
All good leaders might easily answer “yes” to the first question. As the saying goes, “There’s always room for improvement.” However, the soft skills which are in demand today, like problem solving, decision making, communication and collaboration, often touch areas where leaders might feel discomfort or less confidence when trying something new. Some leaders do not want to risk “failure” or will not persevere and quickly scrap “failed” initiatives.
Courageous leaders recognize that learning and growth require hard work and, just like those kids in our classrooms, they may make mistakes, be frustrated or feel awkward. This feeling is often amplified because they have experienced great successes throughout their career.
“Are you willing to feel the discomfort of putting in more effort and trying new things that will feel weird and different and won’t work right away?” Answering yes, can open the doors to improving your leadership as you strive to do the best things for kids.