Leadership: Personal Development – Displays Commitment

A Leader’s Personal Development includes two parts, displaying commitment and seeking improvement. Both of these sets of behaviors provide an encouraging example to others. Displaying commitment requires development of 3 traits:

Maintaining consistently high energy level; persisting and persevering over a wide range of favorable and unfavorable circumstances and a positive outlook.

Previous Leadership articles discussed the Development of Others, which requires development of oneself. Today’s rapidly changing workplace requires leaders to change proactively by having a better understanding of themselves, others, and the work to be done. Continuous learning is the cornerstone of keeping up with change, and a high level of personal commitment is the foundation for personal growth. Personal commitment is comprised of both energy and outlook.

Many leaders are worn out by the challenges at work or at home. Lack of energy could indicate a health issue, an attitude issue, or an issue of how one is approaching the challenges of work and personal life. Each leader must accept responsibility for maintaining a high energy level by examining these areas of personal responsibility and addressing the issues. Sales trainers teach that one’s energy level is contagious, and that it can lift people up, or bring them down. At the physical level we must make sure to address our health needs, to take care of our bodies through healthy diet, rest, and attitude. At the thinking and feeling level, our personal energy is higher when we are living in line with our own personal mission statement. Our personal mission statement includes our core values, our key relationships, and the roles we have chosen. Living out of alignment with our values lowers our energy. Stephen Covey provides a format for developing a personal mission statement in “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”

The second and third capabilities, perseverance/persistence and positive outlook, require energy and a willingness not to get discouraged or give up. How do you react when work becomes increasingly difficult and more obstacles are arising? Your reaction depends on energy and outlook. Do you persist, or desist? The most successful leaders step back, assess the situations they face, renew their commitment to results, and then consider alternative ways to resolve issues. A willingness to step back and reassess the situation is a skill that grows out of commitment. A positive outlook treats problems and obstacles as challenges or opportunities. Successful leaders stay connected to their team, their peers, and their bosses, seeking their input to address issues in fresh ways.

More needs to be said about the role of positive outlook in displaying commitment. Combined with a high energy level, a positive outlook provides the launching pad for persistence. A leader’s positive outlook derives from faith in one’s abilities and practices. In other words, it begins at home, in one’s habits of thinking and reacting, and is not dependent on external circumstances. Cultivating a positive outlook requires a hard and honest look at one’s level of optimism about the future. Today’s circumstances may be terrible, but a leader with a positive outlook believes a way can be found to build a better future. Addiction to one’s comfort level may be a blockage to developing a positive outlook. A positive outlook leads us to try new ways to get desired results when obstacles arise. Addiction to comfort leads one to despair that the obstacles are insurmountable.

For additional growth in displaying commitment:

  • Read Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey, “Begin with the end in mind.”
  • Read Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman;
  • In addition, think about leaders who have had a positive outlook, high energy, and persistence. Talk to them, ask them how they do it, their thinking, and their learning path.
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