Becoming a better leader takes discipline

It’s a beautiful morning. I grab my camera, and walk out of the office to the property that surrounds it as I sharpen my sense of sight to find things that might be unusual or colorful.

Something catches my attention with bright purple and yellow color. Newly blossomed, a day lily sparkles in the morning light. I put the camera settings on macro, kneel down, and move in as close as I can. I adjust other settings for this specific flower in this specific place.

I’m new to photography as an art form and with this type of camera. I want to continue to learn, assess, and readjust, while reminding myself to be mindful and slow down before I click the shutter and not just react to what I see. The goal is to continually get better by clicking the shutter less and having fewer photos that aren’t up to my standards. It takes discipline.

The point here is that there is a goal for me to meet while knowing that my photography will only get better with regular practice. I already see changes with the small steps taken to move forward.

This process can work for you too in improving your leadership too when you:

Focus on a goal that is achievable and that you can measure. I can measure progress by looking back at photos taken month or a year ago to see improvements. How will you know when you’ve improved? You might find you are more at ease with your new behavior or that others are responding differently to you.

Take action because that’s the way that you’ll solidify your new behavior. Photography isn’t fully learned by reading a book or taking a class. Similarly, you can read about becoming a better leader or take a workshop, but that won’t get you where you need to be. Until you act, your goals will stay in your head. When you act on them, they move into your heart and your body to become new habits.

Observe, reflect, and adjust your action steps as needed. Noticing that my photos of (seemingly) stationary objects were sometimes blurry, I learned to adjust my camera settings or use a tripod. Similarly, you can slow down to self-observe and observe others reactions to your new behavior, consider the context and reflect on the cause and next steps to fine tune your actions.

Stay accountable to “practicing” your new behavior. I stay accountable by looking forward to the pleasant surprises that might await me when I stick the SD card into laptop. You might consider the pleasant surprises that are awaiting from your new behavior, having less stress, or simply meeting some other milestones you’ve set.

It takes discipline to get better at almost anything in life, including becoming a better leader.

I am a former executive in a Fortune 100 company. I have owned and operated an executive coaching firm since 2003 called Aspire Collaborative Services LLC. We partner with great leaders to help them become even greater at developing, improving, and sustaining relationships with the people who are essential to their success. This blog is for leaders and those who help them to be more intentional about relationships at work. My top personal values include respect for others, kindness, compassion, collaboration and gratitude. I work very hard at practicing my values daily and when I don’t succeed, I practice some more. I am married with two wonderful daughters and two spoiled pugs.

2 comments on “Becoming a better leader takes discipline

  1. I agree. Leadership always takes discipline, accountability, and adjusting throughout the entire process especially when it comes to growth. With the part “changes with the small steps” it highlights that the centimeters forward are just as crucial and significant as the inches forward. Any growth is active growth. Great read! Can’t wait to read the next post.

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