The largest hurdle in becoming a leader is one’s preconceived notion that it is someone else’s job to grow them or to notice them. Without the right perception it is easy to be stifled by getting caught up in what is fair or not fair. Leaders do not think in terms of what is fair or not fair, they think in terms of what is the right way to be and always side with what is the right thing to do, even if it requires extra effort or difficult decisions. Also, extra effort does not always offer a reward; those that believe it will, end up being disappointed and routinely discount the purpose of going the extra mile; they give up and fall back to only doing what is required, and sometimes they never try again. Therefore, tenacity is an additional requirement to having the right perception.
Many say our younger generations have too strong a sense of entitlement, which is hard to argue. However, entitlement is present across every living generation in America. It is detrimental to our ability to have a greater population of leaders. The majority think…… I deserve that next opportunity because I have been here longer. Or, I deserve it because I have these credentials. Or maybe they believe that something great is just going to fall in their lap – just because. Now compare to this type of thinking… Great things will happen if I consistently do more than is required of me; I have to take it upon myself to learn and start acting the part of a new role, long before anyone will offer it to me; If I want a mentor, I need to go find them; If I lack a skill that will be required to succeed in the role I desire, I need to go get it on my own time and effort; If I can be better, it is my job to hold myself accountable and continuously seek ways to improve. Ahhhhhhhhh, refreshing! This latter way of thinking is what allows individuals to grow and succeed in any size organization, whereas the more entitled way of thinking can only possibly work in poorly managed organizations, or in large bureaucratic organizations. Both of which eventually put two and two together and it ends poorly for all, and the worst part is that the individuals lacking the right perception will blame poor endings on everyone but themselves. Those with the right perception (leaders and future leaders) always blame poor results on themselves, and are always first to give credit for achievements to those they lead.
Similar to quitting a bad habit or achieving any large obstacle in life – a significant change in perception is required to become a leader, and to continue growing as one. And what makes it so hard to do is that the individual is the only one who can do it for themselves.