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Leadership Development

Answering The Dreaded Question: Where Do You See Yourself in 10 Years?

Photo by Alejandro Garrido Navarro on Unsplash

Envision yourself as a better leader

One of my favorite parts of Learning Leadership by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner is chapter eight. Simply titled “Who You Are Isn’t Who You Will Be,” this chapter speaks about the importance of leaders who are forward-looking.

Though the chapter is dedicated to being forward-looking in terms of having an overall vision of the future for the organization, I like to think of it a bit more personally in the context of our journeys as leader and our own leadership development. To me, it speaks to thinking about and envisioning yourself as a better leader in the future. It's about deciding the answer to "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?"

Kouzes and Posner write: “Who you will be in the future is also likely to be different than who you are now or were in the past.” This quote is a simple thought, but it inspires me.

Improving and growing as a leader can often feel like an insurmountable challenge. When first receiving their Leadership Practices Inventory® 360-degree feedback, I’ve seen leaders react with a sense of disbelief and anxiety. I can almost hear them thinking to themselves: “Will I ever be a better leader? I have so much work to do to improve. Maybe this is just who I am.”

To me, that is the beauty of programs like The Leadership Challenge®. Just because you are a certain type or level of leader now doesn’t mean you can’t improve and be an exemplary leader. Even if you haven’t always been the most inspiring or effective leader in the past, there’s always room to be better and always a place to start.

Truly good leaders are continuously learning: they focus on their self-betterment, then once they achieve a goal, they pick a new one and set out to improve in other ways. Who they are as leaders now doesn’t hold them back or doom them to stay there.

Aspiring to be more effective and constantly growing in your practice of exemplary leadership is not for the faint of heart. Forward-looking leaders understand that and rise to meet the challenge, seeking out new opportunities to grow and ways to develop into the leader they see themselves as down the road. And more importantly, to be the leaders that their employees need.

Since leadership is a chain reaction, let’s all challenge ourselves to set the example and model the way for others so they are inspired to improve as well. Isn’t that the essence of true leadership?

Download the First Chapter of Kouzes and Posner's "Learning Leadership"

Lauren Parkhill

Lauren Parkhill leads the marketing team in creating creative content that helps organizations develop their leaders and teams.