Are you fully evolved?
Of course not.
We can always evolve as a person, leader, employee, parent, or spouse. And, to the degree we evolve is the degree that we add value to those that we associate with.
Another way to look at this is: If we fail to evolve,
- We are putting a cap on the positive influence we can have
- We are likely unintentionally causing harm to others
Let me try to bring these ideas to live through a fascinating research study on crew coaches.
Crew Coach Example
All coaches want to win. But, one research study found that while all coaches want to win, coaches of different levels of expertise focus on different things and a different amount of things. Specifically, they found that:
- Novice coaches focus on a wide variety of factors but prioritize technique. Inherently, they believe that focusing on technique will set their teams up for greater success than focusing on other things.
- Intermediate coaches focus on a moderate variety of factors but prioritize conditioning. Inherently, they believe that focusing on conditioning will set their teams up for greater success than focusing on other things.
- Expert coaches focus on a narrow variety of factors but prioritize psychological factors. Inherently, they believe that focusing on psychological factors will set their teams up for greater success than focusing on other things.
What this study demonstrates is an evolution of leadership amongst crew coaches. And, what they found is that the most evolved crew coaches were the most successful.
While the less-evolved coaches were trying their best to win, their lack of evolution:
- Put a cap on the success their teams could have.
- Likely held their teams and athletes back from having a better experience. In fact, they may have unintentionally stunted the athletic careers of their athletes.
(I can’t help but wonder how my lack of evolution as a teacher has unintentionally stunted the students that I teach.)
Understanding this should make us all motivated to continue to evolve.
It would be unhealthy to beat ourselves over the unintentional negative effects we had because of our lack of evolution, but we would do a service to everyone around us if we continually sought to evolve.
The Signs and Signals of the Most Evolved Leaders
Studying vertical development, and particularly the vertical development of leaders, I have been able to identify a wide variety of signs and signals of really evolved leaders. Let me share some of these. This surely isn’t a comprehensive list. In fact, if you think I am missing something, feel free to add them in the comments below.
The signs and signals of the most evolved leaders:
- They have an individual sense of purpose that is about creating value for others
- They prioritize creating a clear purpose for the people and organizations they lead
- They prioritize the creation of a growth-minded and psychologically safe culture
- They are infinite-minded and not finite-minded
- They are able to attune to the needs of others
- They are psychologically flexible
- They have a wide window of tolerance and have an uncanny ability to stay mindful, centered, and balanced, even in the most stressful situations
- They are interdependent thinkers. They are willing and interested in exploring perspectives that may differ from their own.
- They are able to explore and get in touch with their emotions, fears, and insecurities
- They continually invest in their own personal development, which oftentimes involves a focus on their healing
The Signs and Signals of Less-Evolved Leaders
Here are some of the signs and signals of less-evolved leaders:
- They are results- and outcome-focused
- They do not prioritize culture
- They are short-term and finite-minded
- They are unable to attune to the needs of others (they commonly write them off)
- They have a narrow window of tolerance and are not very psychologically flexible, and thus they tend to get rattled
- They are dependent or independent thinkers. They generally don’t explore perspectives that differ from their own.
- They are unable or unwilling to explore and get in touch with their emotions, fears, and insecurities
- They do not invest in their own personal development, and inherently presume that they either don’t have the time or that the investment won’t be worth it
Evolving as Leader
As stated previously, no one is fully evolved. We all have ways we can further evolve.
What this means is that all organizations and executive teams have leaders in need of greater evolution. And, until they evolve, their and their organization’s success is ultimately capped.
The only way for an organization to elevate is to either help their leaders evolve or bring in more evolved leaders.
(To explore these ideas further, see The Five Laws of Leadership Development)
If you want to evolve, or if you want to help other leaders evolve, it is necessary to focus on vertical development: the evolving and elevation of one’s internal operating system.
Vertical development directly focuses on one’s evolution as a person, leader, employee, parent, or spouse.
Unfortunately, research indicates that most adults (64%) never evolve during adulthood.
If you want to evolve leaders or employees in your organization through a focus on vertical development, and either don’t know where to start or would like some help, let’s connect: Connect with Ryan