Your Personal Growth

Leaders are there to show others the way. In your team, that should be your leader. But, a lot of the time it is not, so who else is going to show others the way? For you to grow in your leadership, then you need to lift others up and show them the way.

The CEO of the Scottish railways and the CEO of a London light railway system are both engineers by trade. They started out just like I did working as an inexperienced engineer. They are two of the most powerful leaders in the UK rail industry and are great people.

So you should take comfort in the knowledge that you don’t have to be privileged to become more in life, you can start from anywhere and still become a highly effective leader.

I know them both and they are leaders that I have followed and would happily encourage others to follow. Without great people and great leaders, the world would be a very different place.

1. Leadership Starts With YOU!

The only thing stopping you from becoming one of those great people and a highly effective leader is you. There is only you who can TAKE ACTION! The only person who can learn from your failures and mistakes is you, so TAKE NOTICE!

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Keep in mind, a mistake or a failure is not negative. If you LEARN from it then it is a positive next step towards your success. A lot of people have difficulty seeing mistakes and failures that way.

But, if you practice thinking this way and try to keep in this frame of mind for as long as possible, then learning from failure will become a lot easier.

You may not see yourself as a leader when you’re in your current position at work, but believe me you can develop into a leader at any stage of your career. Even though you may not have any “direct reports” or the title of supervisor, team leader or manager, you are in a position to lead.

Developing yourself, working on yourself, and influencing and developing others is what leadership is all about. As a team member, you can help develop the other members of your team and influence them in a huge way.

2. What Does The Future Look Like?

The time is now for you to start thinking big and see a much bigger and brighter future for yourself. I am not saying that you need to go to university or take hundreds of training courses. People often use not having a degree, or a special qualification as an excuse to remain where they have always been throughout their lives.

I have a degree and if you really want one then by all means go for it, and use what you learn from my articles to help you get that degree. However, you can also use this website to build that brighter future for yourself without a degree.

Your PERSONAL GROWTH can only come from one person, you. Having that self-belief that you will make it work is an absolute must. Growing and developing yourself is imperative to build that bright future.

Reading this and my other articles is the start to developing yourself and growing. So, the next step is to take a chance on yourself.

Being a team member, what do you understand your role to be? When I was an engineer, I thought my role was to just get the work done for the day and go home, then do it all again the next day. That was a very narrow view of me and the other team members. I didn’t realise that we had A LOT more to offer.

The leader we had was also very narrow minded and I had exactly the same view of him. In fact he needed more development than we did, as he was in a “leadership position”.

Within most industries throughout the world, people are often given “leadership positions” or “titles” but have zero leadership training or development. How can they be a leader if they haven’t had the right training?

3. We All Have The Ability To Lead

Team members and their managers can both learn from this article. At the end of the day, the environment is exactly the same for both and they are part of the same teams trying to support each other.

I focus on the team member in the main, however the ideas and skills I discuss can be learned from all levels of the team and the organisation.

I want to make it clear that this article is written for anyone. Whether you are a member of a team or in a leadership position, the principles I am sharing are relevant to all.

If you want to be recognised in your team, department, organisation and your industry as a LEADER, then what I share in this article and my other articles must be implemented.

No matter where you are in your career at the moment, if you implement these principles and live by them every day then the more influence you will have. With more influence, you will have more options and you will also be offered higher, and better positions as you move through your career.

Every team member has the potential to influence. When you have influence, you have leadership. Each person in the team can be a leader and make a massive difference in their own lives and the lives of the team and surrounding teams. Even make a huge difference to the organisation.

To increase your leadership, you need to increase your influence. That is all there is to it.

Where you work there are probably a good few teams, and you can have an influence and make an impact on all of them. Even if you don’t think you can.

The team that you are on within your department or the particular job you are working on is not where it ends. You support a number of other teams outside of your department or even your organisation. You support other teams within your industry. They support you and your team too.

4. What Impact Do You Want To Make?

It is up to you to decide whether you want to go beyond your team and into the wider organisation or industry and make an impact. If you do, then that sends the right message to the leaders who are already making an impact. They will see you as one of them.

Making an impact beyond your own team will not only increase your influence, it will also increase your contribution as a member of your industry.

Making the decision to want to accept more responsibility, volunteer for extra, be noticed by leaders inside and outside your organisation will definitely improve the impact you are already making. Other people will start to notice you and want to know who you are, and what you are doing.

By doing this, you are demonstrating to more and more people that you are a great worker and also a leader with lots of potential. You will gain respect from highly influential people and your name will be known throughout your organisation and beyond, which can be very beneficial for you later on in your career.

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If you make the decision not to go beyond your team and you don’t want to make a bigger impact, then you risk not reaching your potential and not creating the great life that you deserve. A lot of people just go to work and go home each week and wait for the highlight of the month…..when they get paid.

If you go out of your way to deliberately not make an impact or try your best to not be noticed, then guess what? You WILL be noticed, but for the wrong reasons.

I have a lot of experience of working with people who live like this. They do everything they can to disrupt the team and the job. The more they do this then the less influence they have. They get more frustrated each day, and they are the people who create the blame cultures within the organisation. It is all a decision at the end of the day.

When you make your decision, just realise that the decision you make eventually makes you and your reputation.

Add value to your team, and you will become more valuable to the team

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

Check out my other articles by Clicking HERE

All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

38 thoughts on “Your Personal Growth

  1. Hi Tom.

    I have to agree, that it doesn’t matter if we are currently the recognized team leader or not, It’s still in our best interests to develop ourselves to the best of our abilities. In this way, we will be personally recognized, and our whole organization will benefit from our improved contribution.

    We all have choices to make every day, and since we are going to work every day, why not utilize that time in the best possible way. The skills and personal growth we learn concerning our job never ends there, but will also spill over into all other aspects of our lives to make our whole lives better…. and therefore the lives of those we love and care for better as well.

    We each need to decide, what contribution do we want to make, and how do we actually want to be living our own lives. Do we want to make our organization, which is paying us to work there, better because of what we contribute and the lives of our families better, or are we just happy to coast along and do the minimal necessary to keep drawing our salary?

    1. Hi Andrew,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased that you found this a valuabel article.

      We must work on ourselves every day, as you say, whether we are a leader or not. Adding value to our people is the role of a leader, but we cannot add value unless we make ourselves the most valuable we can be.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  2. I have always struggled to lead – I have a specific way of leading my juniors in my previous job (I was a manager in my corporate job but now have been freelancing full time).
    I had a leader that I looked up to and told myself that I wanted to be that kind of leader but I always struggle not knowing whether it’s the kind of leadership that my juniours would actually need.

    I still have a long way to go to become a very good leader but I’m always up for the challenge of improving myself for the better. Thought of getting into communication class to sharpen my communication skills with people.

    It’s all part of self growth in my opinion.

    And I agree with you as well – the best leader I had was the leader who started at the same place as I did. He understood what we all went through and tried to find ways to make things much easier for everyone.

    Instead of my last boss having a mindset that everyone needs to go through what he went through even though the process didn’t make sense in the 21st century.

    It always boggles me how different leadership styles can be. But I believe instead of nitpicking everything, it’s much better for me to focus on making myself a better leader.

    Thanks for sharing the article – it’s a joy to read!

    1. Hi Wina,

      Thank you for your detailed comment. I am so pleased that you found this article a joy to read, means so much to me.

      Leadership is not easy. When I started in my first leadership position, I struggled a lot. I still struggle now and so do the best leaders in the world. What we must never do though is give up. If you believe that you can lead and inspire your people, then it is your responsibility to keep going.

      If you need any help or someone to talk to about your leadership then do not hesitate to contact me.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  3. Isn’t it true that the ones who make great leaders are the people who are not clamoring to be a leader, because they know the responsability they’re going to have to handle? Sometimes, the ones vying for leadership roles are not that interested in leading but pay more attention in the prestige and higher salary of the position. Well, that’s just what I think 😉
    On the other hand, there are also some excellent leaders who go beyond the team and who make themselves part (and not a separate entity) of the team.
    More people in a position of leadership should read this article!

    1. Hi Christine,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad that you found this article valuable.

      I really do hope that more and more leaders read my articles as I know I can help them and make a difference in their lives. I agree that great leaders are the ones who are not really looking to lead. But, because of who they are and what they believe in, people are attracted to them and follow them because they want to.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  4. Tom,

    It is so true that even if you have a degree, it doesn’t mean much in the workplace unless you’re specialized. Like a surgeon or something. I’ve met a lot of people with business degrees, business management degrees, etc. Having a degree doesn’t make you a better leader, or better at the job in the basic sense of the job.

    Take yours for example – you have an engineering degree. You have to have that to work at the firm you work for. However, your boss, does (s)he have a engineering business management degree? Possibly. If not though, are they the best boss? What makes them better than the other engineers?

    I also don’t think people should be promoted simply for length of time on the job. That doesn’t make you a leader and it usually ends up going to their head more often than not.

    Great article and great information! Thanks for sharing this!

    Katrina

    1. Hi Katrina,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you found this a great article, means a lot.

      I couldn’t agree with you more about the degree. It is great to achieve a degree, but it needs to be used correctly. Otherwise it will end up being a waste of time and money for people.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  5. Hi, Tom,

    Thank you for another great and such motivational post.

    I have seen so many people who have achieved great results in life without having any particular degree.

    And vice-versa, certified people who have done little to nothing in life and their career.

    At the end of the day, it all comes down to the attitude each person adopts every day.

    Please, keep posting great content here, I like it so much!

    Cheers,
    Ionut

    1. Hi Ionut,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found this a motivational article, means a lot.

      I could not agree with you more. Whether you have a degree or not, you can achieve what you want in life if you have the right attitude towards your goal or dream. If you focus on your dream and work hard then you will achieve it. You just need to believe in yourself and give 100%.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  6. Hi Tom,

    Yet another article of yours that resonates strongly with me.

    My finance-based degree was more focused towards me being in a sales-related position.

    However, just going through your first point here, I can see a lot of similarities with my career-path.

    I’ve always been told that I’m a “natural leader” and that people tend to gravitate towards me as a decision-maker.

    With that being said, my career started as a team member in corporate banking, but I decided to take responsibility for my own personal development.

    I know that’s something that you constantly tell your readers to do.

    I had no real intention of going into management, but through my continuous development, and wanting to understand myself better as a person, it became a natural progression.

    You’re quite right in saying to Katrina above that a degree needs to be used correctly.

    Plus, there’s no actual need for that level of formal education in many industries in order to become a leader.

    I think it has far more to do with how much we’re willing to work on improving ourselves throughout our lives.

    I also really like the fact that you’ve mentioned that we all have the ability to lead – very true.

    A great read as always Tom.

    Partha

    1. Hi Partha,

      Thank you for your very detailed article as always. I love when you comment on my articles because you add so much value to it. This means so much to me.

      I hope I’m not giving people the impression that degrees are not worth it because they really are as long as we use them correctly. But, you are right that your finance degree was great, but we must take responsibility for our own personal growth and focus on our goal or our dream. I know you do this on a daily basis and it inspires me and so many others to follow you.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  7. Tom,

    Thanks for this great article! It’s great to know that anyone can become a highly effective leader if we’re willing to put in the work.

    I also love your perspective about failure as a stepping stone to a future success.
    If you look at failure with that in mind, it becomes a motivational tool instead of the opposite. I appreciated your quote: “Add value to your team, and you will become more valuable to the team.” I am certainly going to apply that in my own career!

    Best,
    Femi

    1. Hi Femi,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found this a great article.

      You are right, we all have the ability to influence, so we all have the ability to lead and if we work hard enough then become a highly effective leader.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  8. Awesome post Tom!

    I think it’s so true – it’s all based on your attitude, persective. The CEO is not always THE leader in the group and you can always be that guy.

    Keep on rocking!

    1. Hi Julius,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found this article awesome.

      I agree, attitude is what it all starts with and everybody has the ability to influence, so everybody has the ability to lead.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  9. You grabbed me when you said all of us have the ability to lead. Some are born leaders I believe, but, others can learn to lead. How do we teach people to lead? How do we teach them to influence? What about the shy ones? Can shy people lead?

    1. Hi Josephine,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that my article grabbed you.

      All leaders are born, I have never met a leader who wasn’t born. We teach people to lead by sharing our experiences and sharing what we learn from reading leadership articles (like this one), leadership books, leadership courses and leadership development training. As leaders it is up to us to develop our people, it is our responsibility.

      Shy people certainly can lead. Like any other skill, we need to first learn the skill and then we need to practice the skill.

      Practice makes perfect as they say.

      All the best,

      Tom

      1. Tom, it is true that all leaders are born. All people are born. I noticed you did not say like others that they were born leaders (smile).

        Over time we develop the skillset/s we need in order to be effective leaders.

        Thanks, Tom.

  10. Hi Tom,
    great article as always. Experience speaks from your texts and that is why I see you as credible in giving advice for better leadership and behavior in general through the business world.
    I like the way you think about what a leader should be like. I agree with you that a diploma really means nothing. I even think that leaders from higher schools are more overbearing and vain. At least from my experience it was like that.
    A true leader must have something more than a school degree and that is, above all, nice behavior towards his team and the people around him. He needs to motivate and support them even when they make a mistake. Like you said one learns through mistakes, and all successful people initially failed.
    I will definitely be downloading your book “Increase Your Influence”. Thanks for writing inspirational texts, just keep it up.
    Greetings,
    Danijela

    1. Hi Danijela,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really happy that you found this a great article.

      I appreciate your kind words and thinking my advice is very credible, really means a lot to me. You are right, a true leader must be more than a degree or a qualification. They must know who they are and what they want to achieve with and for their team.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  11. Hi Tom, great post as always. You are right, leadership doesn’t have to come with a title, it starts with you. The impact you choose to make, the value you bring and the desire you have for personal growth. I also agree that a degree can make you more skillful, but it doesn’t make you a leader. Thanks for your very inspiring posts. Can’t wait to see what you post next.

    1. Hi Christine,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad that you found this article valuable.

      Leadership doesn’t have anything to do with titles or positions, you are absolutely right. We all have the ability to influence, so we all have the ability to lead.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading,

      All the best,

      Tom

  12. Thanks for sharing this motivational post. Its very useful and informative. You are right in order to become a good leader you have to believe in yourself first .Self recognition is very important.

    We work hard day and night but fails sometimes
    We always learned from our mistakes as it is a common saying “Success is all about going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm”

    Keep up the good work!

    I am looking forward for your more inspirational posts.

    All the best

    Saba J

    1. Hi Saba,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you have found this article motivational, really does mean a lot to me.

      Self-belief is so important in all we do, you are absolutely right. Learning from our failures and mistakes is a step towards success, so we must embrace our failures and mistakes. We cannot use our failures and mistakes as excuses to give up. NEVER GIVE UP!

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  13. Loved what you said about failure not being negative. I totally agree, it can be the gift to transformation. I often use the phrase fail forward and I think it’s so true, we can either use it as something that sets us back or springboards us forward towards success.

    I find it really encouraging what you say about being a leader as something that requires practise and honing of skill. I think so many people give us when they feel out of their comfort zone and just assume it doesn’t come naturally, but you’re right we all have that ability within us, so thank you for pointing that out. I think it’ll be a real confidence boost for people for whom leadership doesn’t come so naturally and you’ve included tons of handy tips here to get them started! The biggest part of success is mindset and I truly believe with your knowledge they are well on their way to achieving this. Especially as you delve into mindset so thoroughly. Your last paragraph is so apt, we all have the ability to sleep walk through life so I think it provides everyone with the encouragement they need to go for their goals and keep reaching their greatest potential. Thanks so much for this. Wonderful read!

    1. Hi Natalie,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found this article valuable.

      I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on failure, and that we should embrace it. We cannot use our failures and mistakes as excuses to give up, we must use them as opportunities to learn and keep moving forward towards our goals and dreams.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  14. Hi Tom,
    I loved this article; very encouraging information!
    I must admit I have been very often in leadership positions, but I like to work supportive instead of on the front. We have lots of problems in our team with members trying to control and manipulate. That isn’t reassuring!
    I have experienced lots of leaders throughout my working life, and I can say who is a real natural leader and who is just a control freak. The natural leader is so relaxing for a team.
    In our team members’ last composition, we had two natural leaders who worked together very well. Our whole atmosphere was open, transparent, friendly, and supportive. The controlling and manipulating members have been absent because they couldn’t work in the light but needed the darkness to interfere. It is fascinating to observe these developments, and you are very right about the influence someone has. A good leader is a gold worth for a company. Great article!

    1. Hi Sylvia,

      Thank your for your comment. I’m so pleased that you loved this article, really means a lot to me.

      I appreciate you sharing your expereinces in a leadership position and it sounds like there are issues in the team that need t be addressed. If you are in the leadership position at the moment then it is your responsibility to help resolve this. It is not an easy thing to do and if you would like to talk about it or if you need any help then please get in touch with me. I will be happy to help you.

      Keep returning, keep engaging nd keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  15. Hmmm…I had never really thought about leadership in terms of influence per se although it makes sense. I’ve always felt that it was about building relationships (without this I guess you’re not necessarily going to influence anybody) and I have to say a little cynically I’ve thought one has to ‘play the game’ – the ‘social game’. My thinking has always been that it’s not necessarily the person with the most skill (though dealing with people is definitely a skill) or education that necessarily climb that ladder or end up in leadership positions. However, I have known many in leadership that have very poor people skills so I have questioned that. Perhaps influencing the ‘right’ people and not the minions. Perhaps my view is too narrow.
    I really need to mull over this one. Better still, I think I need to get your free ebook Increase your Influence. I’d be interested in your thoughts.

    1. Hi Martine,

      Thank you for your comment. Leadership is influence and influence is leadership. I would highly recommend you getting my free E-Book “Increase your Influence”.

      You are right, building relationships is so important for a leader. This is how we build trust (the foundation of leadership) and how we increase our influence.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  16. Hey, Tom! Thanks for sharing another awesome post about leadership. I agree with you, we all have a leadership ability in us. It just takes some time and self-initiative to develop it and it all starts, as you said, with increasing your influence. As you do so, more and more people will be attracted to you and start looking for advice and pointer from you, which in turn will help you to grow as a leader and improve your leadership skills. It’s a give-and-take process that takes time but it’s worth of time and effort for sure. As always, I learned a lot from your posts. Keep them coming and best of luck!

    1. Hi Ivan,

      Thank you for your comment. It means so much to me that you found this an awesome article.

      You are right, everybody has the ability to influence so we all have the ability to lead. We just have to want to lead and practice the leadership skills and principles, just like we practice any other skill.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  17. First of all let me say how cool it is that you are an engineer on a railway man, I live in Canada and when I was a kid we used to take the train every winter from eastern Canada to Ottawa Ontario. It was about a 15 hour train ride, we over nighted it of course, great memories. Love the train!

    As for your post man, you nailed it regarding personal growth. In regards to leadership, I have been in the Navy, owned businesses where I managed people and have been a manager in the insurance industry. It is interesting to watch people when they get a leadership position, some go on a major power trip and believe it is their God given right to be a manager, where as others try to make everyone on the team feel like they are a part and that it is very much all about the team.

    It is clear from reading your posts on your blog that you are a great leader and that people striving to become great leaders should be paying attention.

    Keep up the great work.

    Cheers

    1. Hi Robb,

      Thank you for your comment. I love your story about taking the train in Canada, I would love to go to Canada and ride your trains.

      I really appreciate you sharing your leadership expereinces in the Navy, your businesses and in your insurance role. There will be a lot of people who read this post who will be able to relate to you and hopefully learn just as much from you as they do from me.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  18. Hi Tom,
    Thank you for your great post. I share the same beliefs as you just wrote. In terms of leadership, people oftentimes misunderstand, that they have to have kind of status, position, or education to be a ”leader”. While some in those positions, everyone can become a great leader by bringing value to the team or to individuals. What do you think about being a leader by example? Cheers

    1. Hi Julius,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really happy that you found this a great post.

      It’s great that you share the same beliefs as I do and that this article resonates with you. Leading by example is the most important leadership principle for me. We must SHOW our people that we care for them, not just tell them. Leading by example is how we inspire and model the behaviour for our people to follow.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

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