Overcoming Barriers to Leadership Development

April 26, 2022

Leadership growth requires skills development and experience, but it can at times be impacted by barriers – real or imagined. Overcoming these barriers is important to ensure that a leader can truly grow and develop.

According to Inc Magazine, the first step in overcoming barriers is admitting they can happen. “[L]eadership growth is not inevitable and that certain things can stop or derail it. In too many cases, leaders are unable to figure out what’s blocking their growth, because they’re in denial about the need to do so.”

Setting an example for rising leaders is critical. As someone advances in their leadership journey, they often model themselves after other leaders, learning through observation. A key to successful leadership is embracing mistakes and being willing to ask for help.

Leaders are not perfect. They are continually learning, and are willing to take risks and make mistakes.

SHRM shares, “Leaders who adopt a growth mindset know that mistakes are part of the process. They and their teams can learn from blunders and slip-ups. Admitting to mistakes can set the stage for an open dialogue with employees and team members, Perkins says. It also acknowledges that no one is infallible….In fact, employees believe their direct supervisor is more effective when he or she frames failures and mistakes as growth opportunities, according to the results of the Ethics and Compliance Initiative’s 2019 Global Business Ethics Survey.”

Leaders aren’t invincible and they can’t do everything on their own. It can be difficult though to delegate or ask for help when struggling. Assigning a mentor or coach to a rising leader is a key to successful development. This provides a sounding board for the rising leader to ask questions or ask for help when they aren’t sure they are doing the right thing.

Too often leaders fail because they don’t empower their teams to do their jobs – good leaders provide space and opportunity for employees to explore their own capabilities and skills development in order to succeed. Leaders who can’t let go are seen as micromanagers, which can lead to a disgruntled team that feels held back – let your team shine!

Good leadership does not require you to know everything or to have experience in all areas of the company. A good leader understands what is needed and identifies team members who have the expertise to effectively perform in those roles. Recognizing that you don’t know everything and being open to considering new approaches is important to developing as a leader. Let go of the “we’ve always done it that way” mindset and encourage your team to research and creatively think outside the box.

Identifying barriers to your leadership growth and embracing opportunities to overcome those barriers is key to developing into a strong leader.

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