The Four Phases of Growth

Even if you have great natural ability, it takes time to become a leader, says John Maxwell. Maxwell, who founded four companies and has spent decades in various leadership roles, says you need time to go through four phases of growth:

  1. "You don’t know what you don’t know." To start on the leadership path, you must realize that leadership is influence. And everybody – including you – tries to influence others every day. If you accept that fact, you’ve reached an important point on the way to becoming a leader: You realize you need to know more about how influence works.
  2. "I know what I don’t know." You’ll usually find yourself in this phase after you’ve been thrust into a leader’s role. Now you know for sure that you need to learn more about influence. So start to gather resources, attend seminars, take courses and talk to leaders in your field.
  3. "I grow, and I know it starts to show." At this point, others begin to notice – and comment on – something about you that says you’re on your way to becoming a leader. But realize it won’t happen as quickly as you’d like. It will occur according to the "Law of Process." In five years, your influence will increase. In 10, you’ll be an effective leader. And in 20 years – if you’ve continued your growth – others will be asking you to show them how to lead.
  4. "I simply go because of what I know." This is when all your hard work and willingness to learn – and teach others – pays off. Your leadership becomes almost automatic. But you can’t get there without paying the price of lifelong learning and being patient enough to let the "Law of Process" work.

Suggestion: Think of becoming a leader as like investing in the stock market: If you hope to amass a fortune in one day, you won’t succeed. But if you start learning today, you’ll be ready to lead when the time comes.


Source: ~ Adapted from The Manager’s Edge. Original Source: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You, by John C. Maxwell, Thomas Nelson Publishers Inc.

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