Neglecting Growth

Contributed by Yashvi Shah. Follow her at @yashvi_shah.

I often have this conversation with some of the coolest people around me: what is the number one worst thing you can do as a leader? And I have always believed it to be neglecting growth.

Leadership is often misconstrued to be an opportunity for someone “who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” I could not disagree more.

In all of my experiences throughout the last few years, I have grown more than I could have ever imagined and fell harder than I ever thought I could handle but those are the moments that have shaped me into the young woman that I am today.

As a leader, I have learned three really important things:

  • I am continuously evolving, and I am not too convinced there is an upper limit to my evolution.
  • I need to learn to live with uncertainty and have confidence that regardless of the challenges that lie ahead of me, they will propel me and my team forward.
  • I do not know everything. Heck, I don’t even know what I don’t know. And that is okay.

While it is true that you are expected to steer the boat as a leader, every moment of the journey brings experiences that can shape you or break you. I have often seen leaders that will somehow morph the experience into one that feels less like a failure. They will say “well, we tried that direction but it just wasn’t meant to be.” As a fellow spirit, I agree but if in that morph, you fail to absorb the why, you have lost the battle already.

The greatest leaders of our time have got there because they never neglected growth. Narendra Modi, the son of a grocer who has now become one of the greatest prime ministers India has seen experienced so many challenges throughout his journey. He is now launching a campaign to increase manufacturing practices in India. He knows he has evolved, he knows things are uncertain and he knows he doesn’t know everything. But he’s doing it anyways.

Leadership doesn’t mean you have all the answers. It just means you’re not afraid to question yourself hundreds of times along the way.

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