Editor’s note: Brad Wolff is a speaker and author of, People Problems? How to Create People Solutions for a Competitive Advantage.  

The wrong mind-set/beliefs hinder most people’s leadership effectiveness … get this right to transform your own. Do you believe that the personal and the professional aspects of your life are separate and distinct from each other? I had this belief for many years. I chose to focus my time and energy into professional improvement via more technical knowledge and skills. I thought that this was my ticket to professional success. Even though my competency in performing my job was improving, I was failing in every other area. Specific problems that were sabotaging my success included the following:

From these experiences, I learned a valuable lesson – the same lesson that is backed up by the experiences of other people and research. The most effective way to improve our leadership effectiveness is to focus on our personal development. Efforts that lead to personal development enhance our capacity in every area of our lives. We simply have greater capacity to handle anything life throws at us.

Here’s what I consider to be the main areas of personal growth and why each is so important: 

1. Identifying and developing innate talents to maximize productivity and effectiveness. It’s common not to realize your true innate talents due to distorted messages from yourself and others and the lack of use of your gifts (often we don’t know they exist). When your work aligns with your innate talents, you’re set up to succeed. Does it make sense to grind away at work that provides limited enjoyment or satisfaction. Also, your current age doesn’t need to be a deterrent to shifting careers. Many well-known successes occur when people move to new work in their 50s, 60s and 70s. The same principles apply to all of us!

2. Increasing awareness and acceptance of ourselves and others...