Use a personal development model to improve your professional leadership skills

JAM CFO Nico Esterhuizen says the best time to choose personal growth is today.

Most organisations take time annually to sit down and plan for the next year, to reflect on past successes and failures as a way of ensuring they remains true to their vision and strategy and to prevent the  repeat of any mistakes. In these sessions, organisations spend hours on fine-tuning their strategy and planning how to execute it successfully. While ample time, money and energy is spent on the details of the next year’s plan, the same can’t be said for many accountants. 

Personal mastery is the cornerstone of effective professional leadership, hence each of us should spend sufficient time developing and executing a personal development plan. Whether you prefer John Maxwell, Carol Dweck or Robin Sharma, a deliberate personal development plan could be the difference you need to be more effective as a leader.

Maxwell says that each leader should make the deliberate choice for a life strategy of growth, realising that the journey to success is not reaching an end-goal but rather a life of constant growth. When choosing a life of personal and professional growth, everything around you also appears better. Growth, however, is not automatic, and although age does not provide automatic wisdom, growth certainly does. Therefore, the best time to choose growth is today, and the responsibility for that rests with each of us. 

This life strategy of growth should be focused on both self-development and self-fulfilment. Self-fulfilment is focusing on the things that give joy and happiness, whereas, self-development is the advancement of the potential and talent in ourselves. That being said; never remain complacent with your current accomplishments as there is always so much more to do. To keep on being successful, you must “stay hungry” to grow and not let your current success lead you to believe that it will be permanent. In simpler (more clichéd) terms, don’t let it go to your head! 

Successful people also use their time wisely and therefore develop a plan for deliberate and focused growth by choosing a few topics that they’d like to grow in. There are many easily accessible and reliable resources to assist growth and learning, such as podcasts, journals, books and online training platforms. Maxwell recommends a book every month and an article or quality podcast every week. 

Self-development, however, does come with a price, that of time, and sometimes even money, as you grow and learn. Most importantly; planning is essential but remember, you need to apply what you have learned. Pay enough time and attention to the growth plan for it to work and realise that if you are not changing or growing, it means you are not applying what you have learnt.