Each week, I respond to a question submitted by a leader. Today’s question has two parts: What do I do if my leader’s not growing and doesn’t support my growth? My counsel for any of you who find yourself in this situation is two-fold… 

First, I’ll give you the same advice I would give someone working for a leader who is growing – help your leader be successful. I’ve written about this before – here’s a link to a post entitled, If You Want to Lead Well…

Also, your leader may be growing in ways you are unaware of. Be careful to judge their growth. Even if your hunch is correct, I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility your leader can grow. Maybe they aren’t being challenged sufficiently. That could change with a new competitor or a new assignment. Perhaps they have other priorities that in their mind supersede the need for focused attention on personal development. Finally, maybe they haven’t seen for themselves the effects of targeted leadership development – you could be their model!

On to the more important part of the question – “What if my leader doesn’t support my leadership development?” That’s unfortunate, but irrelevant. You and I must own our own development. Our boss may control which conference and events we attend, but they do not control what we read, who we have lunch with, what we listen to in the car going to and from work and so on. Our first obligation as a leader is to grow. We cannot shirk that responsibility.

Is it easier to grow if we are encouraged by our supervisor? Certainly. It’s also great if our organization will help fund our growth; but if they don’t, we’re not off the hook.

I travel a lot. Every time I get on a plane, I’m reminded of the priority leaders must place on personal growth…

“In the event of a loss in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the panel above your head. Put your mask on FIRST before you attempt to assist others.”

Many of you have heard that same announcement. You may  have asked yourself, “Why do we have to put our mask on first? I’m a servant leader, shouldn’t I serve others first?”

NO. If you fail to put your mask on first, you’ll be of no use to those around you. Personal development for leaders is our oxygen. We must ensure our supply – first.

If your boss doesn’t support you in this, that’s unfortunate. You still need YOUR oxygen. Who knows, your boss may be the one you can serve the most – IF you are growing in your own leadership.

Put your mask on first – don’t wait on someone else to do it for you.[GLS_Shield]

heart-of-leadership-launch-team-ad-2

Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.