Simon Terry

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The Learning Potential of Discomfort

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When you become a leader, success is all about growing others – Jack Welch

Leadership is how we realise human potential. To realise potential great leaders help people to step out of their comfort zone. As a leader, you will need to get used to being out of your own comfort zone.

The friction of capabilities against a bigger challenge

A match doesn’t realise its potential until you strike it against a surface. The friction brings out the flame.

Developing the potential of people takes learning. We need to learn the limits of their capabilities. We need to learn how far their capabilities will stretch. This learning only occurs when people are out of their zone of comfort.

Great leaders excel at getting people acting outside of their comfort zone. Getting outside our comfort zones is where we can feel the friction of their capabilities against bigger challenges. That action to stretch ourselves is how we learn.

Leaders don’t make action safe. Leaders give people the confidence, purpose and support to do unsafe things to learn, to improve or to make change happen. This means guiding people into action, shaping the feedback and reflection to grow learning and helping people back up when they fall short to try again.

Leaders enable people to realise a potential that they might not fully accept or understand. These leaders never confuse competency with capability. They look for the upside. Great leaders help create the achievements that people describe later as “i never thought I could do that but I just did.”

Leadership can’t play safe

Before people take a risk for you, they want to know you are taking a risk too. If you build in too many failsafes, fallbacks and protections, then you will take the stretch, the risk and the learning away from the team. If you believe in others and take a risk on their capabilities the results & gratitude can be extraordinary.

Great leaders know they are realising the potential of their teams outside the comfort zone because they feel that friction in their leadership too. They push themselves to improve and realise their potential as well. Great leaders know they need to learn new approaches, build capability and improve to make things better.

Leaders can’t play safe to realise the potential of others.


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