Weekender: Bryan Cranston on Courageous Personal Growth

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 10: Actor Bryan Cranston poses for a portrait at the Broadcast Television Journalists Association's Third Annual Critics' Choice Television Awards on June 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for CCTA)

Welcome to another edition of leadersayswhat’s the Weekender, a gram of thought to start your weekend on the right track. Why just a gram? Because it’s the weekend!

It’s easy to get into a rut. It starts with being too comfortable, then you’re resisting changes that challenge your comfort, and before you know it, you sound like a colleague of mine who told me yesterday, “Why bother changing my leadership style? This has worked for a long time so I’ll do it when the CEO directs the entire management team to do it.”

For a little context, she’s only 32 years old (not quite an “old dog who can’t learn a new trick”) and all I suggested was that she start asking more questions when she meets with her team. If she’s reading this, and I hope she is, maybe Bryan Cranston can provide a more convincing argument then I did.

You can either take a proactive or a reactive point of view. And we know a lot of people that are like, ‘Hey, do you need a job flipping burger?’ [And their response is] ‘Guess I’m flipping burgers now.’… You’re reacting to stimulus as oppose to forging ahead and saying, ‘No, I don’t want that.’

So if you put yourself in a position to increase your odds of having an experience, that’s where you want to be. You want to try something new. You want to be courageous and do something that you have not done before… As we get older, we have a tendency to say, ‘This is what I do and this is what I don’t do.’ We stagnate in our growth. Even if it’s a small thing, take a chance. Try it.

Find the courage to take proactive steps in developing you and your team. Don’t allow passive “Guess I’m doing _________ now.” Instead, generate a culture where people feel empowered. This will enable them to own their actions, not fall into them. And with empowerment comes engagement, increased productivity, and a team that thrives on continuous self-improvement.