Dec 102012
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What is the greatest gift you can give yourself?

I tell my friends and clients that it’s not bad being self-employed, if you have a good boss. That has to be one of the best advantages of being self-employed, along with being able to resolve staff conflicts quickly, never disappointing your co-workers when arriving late or leaving early, and being able to put an end to office gossip.

Of course, there are some drawbacks. When you arrive at work in a foul mood, the entire work force is affected, and car pool or calling in sick are definitely out of the question.

One of the highlights of being self-employed is fast approaching, the Christmas gift exchange between employees. I always seem to know what type of gift I would like and always seem to receive it. Our employee has great insight.

Having received some great gifts during my self-employed lifetime, I started wondering about what was the best one I have ever received. It didn’t take long to reach a conclusion. Easily, the best gift I have received is also, the wisest business . It is the gift of personal development.

Investing in my own self-improvement, my own personal growth, the betterment of me is the best gift I have ever received. It is, without a doubt, the most critical step in accomplishing my goals, and the one in which all success strategies are built.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” In other words, he would spend twice as much time working on himself as on the task itself.

Most people would grab the ax, dull or not, and start chopping the tree. If they don’t make any progress, they quit and probably blame the axe. Their best strategies and actions, how hard they hit the tree, their rhythm, etc. can all be measure and improved…but it starts with the axe itself. That axe is us.

If we accept that professional development is important for us, then we should also agree that professional development is important for our employees. Why not give your employees the gift that keeps on giving, the gift of personal development.

If personal development can make you a better leader, it will make your employees better leaders, better managers, better supervisors, better co-workers, and better members of the community. Everybody wins when that happens.

Sir Ernest Shackleton, the great Antarctic explorer believed that a good boss can make the workload seem lighter, that not providing our workforce the best tools available unduly burdens them, and that one person can affect the entire workforce. Providing opportunities for personal development creates a workforce that can help your organization grow.

The holiday season is a time for giving; why not give your employees the gift of personal development? You will be giving them something that will last a lifetime. Investing in their personal development will improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital, enhance quality of life at home and at work, and contribute to the realization of their dreams and aspirations. You will be helping them reach their potential and that will help you reach yours.

The leadership gift comes nicely wrapped in the Ascending Leader’s ProgramTM. Contact me to discuss how I can gift wrap it and deliver it for you.

Take care and have a safe and prosperous holiday season.

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