There are some organizations that are moving too fast for people, but there is also the opposite effect. A person’s growth can stagnate if the leadership is not able to push them forward. This happens more often than you might think in education., with the “leader” being behind while the “follower” is accelerated. It can lead to a frustrating situation for educators and is part of the reason why I have higher expectations of principals and superintendents in the sessions I lead. If they are behind, they hold back all of teachers and students they serve. Their ripple effect can create extreme waves of negativity.
So what do you do if you feel you have outgrown your leadership to ensure that your own growth doesn’t stagnate?
Here are three suggestions that might help.
1. Find mentorship outside your organization. (online and offline)
One of the problems of “outgrowing” leadership is that you don’t know what you don’t know. You feel that you have so much more that you could be able to do but do not necessarily know what is out there. By finding mentors outside your organization, it can give you a different perspective of what is possible in your field.
I am a big advocate of developing leadership within your organization while also bringing in leaders from outside. This allows you to learn from people with fresh ideas that may not be your organization’s norm, but also still have the focus on developing within. You can do this at a personal level. Although you can learn from anyone within your organization, that “push” or new idea or focus from outside your organization can give you a new lens to look at things.
Just understand that if you are looking for a mentor to push you, get ready to be pushed. Some people crave growth but struggle when they are challenged in their own thinking. If you are looking for advice and challenges, you don’t have to take it, but if you truly want to grow, you better be open to it.
2. Disrupt Your Routine
Although finding people to mentor you is much easier than ever with social networks being so prevalent in our world today, there must be an onus on you to create your opportunities as well.
Start a blog.
Write a book.
Jump into a fitness group.
Take a class that is outside the field of education or read a book that you wouldn’t normally read that might give you a new perspective.
Do something you wouldn’t normally do that can lead to growth in other areas that aren’t necessarily in your field but may give you different perspectives.
Create your own disruption before someone comes along and does it for you.
This is the hardest advice for someone to hear, but it is also the most honest. If you feel that you are in a place that you are stagnating, eventually it could lead to you being miserable in what you are doing. This will not only impact what you do professionally but eventually could hamper your personal life. Sometimes we have to make these tough choices in our lives, but they are just that; choices. Don’t waste a gift you have in a place that doesn’t recognize or utilize it.
It could be the hardest thing you ever do, but it could also be the best.
I saw a video with motivational speaker Grant Cardone recently and he said something to the effect of, “You are either going up, going down, or in the same spot, but if you are in the same spot, you are going down.”
We need to recognize when we become stagnant and find ways to push ourselves even when we feel alone in what we do. Find a way.