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Help! I want to own my development, but where do I begin?

We are all told that it's important to "own our development," and as much as we want to, we're not always sure where to start. In this post, we'll focus on 3 strategies that put you in the driver's seat:

  1. Tap into a Growth Mindset

  2. Know Thyself to Grow Thyself

  3. Be a Feedback Puller

1. Tap into a Growth Mindset:

According to researcher and Professor Dr. Carol Dweck, we approach our skills, abilities, and intelligence through one of two mindsets that exist on a continuum: fixed or growth. Dr. Dweck famously coined the term “growth mindset” to describe the belief that skills and intelligence can be grown and developed.

We all operate from both a growth and a fixed mindset. When you look at this graphic – What are a few things you can relate to on the growth mindset side? Fixed?

Reflect: Think about a decision you made recently. Did you decide from a place of growth or fixed mindset?

A growth mindset is a journey. It is about learning – engaging in a process of growth and learning that brings about new creative outcomes. It is about engaging with the power of “yet.”

When you notice yourself in a fixed mindset, how can you find the “yet” in the situation?

Tapping into this mindset is the first step in owning your own development.

To learn even more about growth mindset, watch this video.

2. Know Thyself to Grow Thyself

We started 2023 by providing our Kane Learning community with a reflection activity called “The Power of Pause.” It was an invitation to review 2022 intentionally by thinking about what went well, what we want to do differently, and do more of in 2023. Reflection can help us make changes and guide where we spend our limited resources. We challenged the community this way because reflection is essential to ongoing growth and development.

Reflection gives the brain an opportunity to pause amidst the chaos, untangle and sort through observations and experiences, consider multiple possible interpretations, and create meaning. This meaning becomes learning, which can then inform future mindsets and actions. For leaders, this "meaning making" is crucial to their ongoing growth and development.

It’s easy to let the urgent keep us from setting time aside for reflection. Here are 4 tips inspired by that HBR article to help you get started:

  • Schedule time. We are driven by our calendars! Put time on your calendar for reflection and then commit to keeping it.

  • Start small. Set aside 10 minutes and begin with one thoughtful question – what work have I done this week that I am proud of?

  • Do it. Be still. Think. Consider multiple perspectives. Look at the opposite of what you initially believe. Brainstorm. You don’t have to like or agree with all of your thoughts — just let yourself think them.

  • Ask for help. For most of us, we have things that can get in the way of reflection. Consider working with a colleague or friend to help you make the time, listen carefully, be a thought partner, and hold you accountable.

Knowing yourself takes a commitment that only you can make. Asking a colleague or friend to keep you accountable could help you get started. The last strategy to owning your development is centered on feedback.

3. Be a Feedback Puller

We have written about giving good feedback, but we're shifting the lens here because, yes, while it is essential to provide good feedback, you also need feedback to grow. So, how do you do that? You become a feedback puller by asking for it and being open to what you hear.

How can we get others to give us feedback? Asking for feedback can put our teams on the spot or feel too vague. According to Sheila Heen, a feedback expert, to get good feedback, we need to pose specific questions. She recommends asking: What’s one thing I could improve? Then apply that question to an area you want to grow and improve: What’s one thing I could have done better in that meeting?

Read more of Heen’s article from Harvard Business Review here.

How do we get better at receiving feedback? Sometimes when we receive feedback, it makes us defensive, we may want to deny the behavior, or it may just make us feel lousy. These responses are normal! But this is where the power of a growth mindset comes in to help us shift our perspective! Tap into your growth mindset and do this one key thing:

  • Get curious! Ask questions to get clear on the feedback. Give the person sharing the feedback a chance to say what they're trying to say and ask clarifying, curious questions to help make the conversation productive.

So, to become a "feedback puller" we need to ask for and be open to feedback. Build your feedback receiving muscle by asking for it more often – it’s easiest to receive it when you make a habit of asking for it.

If you want to get better at giving good feedback, read our blog post about that here.

To recap - only you can own your development! Put these 3 helpful and practical strategies into practice to level up your leadership.

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