Leading others is the most challenging role one could assume. In addition to possessing industry and technical knowledge, your ultimate task is to influence people to believe in you, the company and organization enough that they will give their best effort. The affects of great leadership are so profound that it grows businesses, changes industries, influences economies and transforms the lives and families of those being led. There’s a higher purpose in being a Leader that creates incredibly high stakes!
Being a great or even good Leader requires a continuous quest for self-improvement. The process of leadership is so complex that Leaders have to be able to flex and anticipate shifts for their organizations to remain relevant (businessnewsdaily.com). To this end, Leaders have to be avid learners. Contrary to what some believe, leadership is a learned observable skill. And certainly, every leader has strengths, weaknesses and the ability to improve (hbr.org).
This might be the age of selfies and likes. But don’t get it twisted. When it comes to leadership, what matters is what you say and how you say it; what you do and
how you do it; AND how you prepare, support and enable others. The extent to
which your leadership results reflect a real contribution to people performing better in their existing roles or being prepared for the next role, speaks volumes about your leadership. Substance still matters in this arena (cio.com). Employee studies focused on culture, retention, employee engagement, and leadership continue to site that
people quit their bosses not their jobs.”
As we are counting down to the New Year and relishing in those moments of deep introspection, consider your leadership disposition. Get clear about what you must do to be a better leader. There are a multitude of actions one can take to improve. There’s a short list of suggestions attached. Engage human resources or talent development specialists for developmental recommendations specific to your needs. Commit to action. Create opportunities to understand what’s working what’s not working and why (inc.com).
Leaders aren’t expected to be perfect. But with the lengthy list of what is expected: humility, collaboration, decisive, empathetic, respectful, trusting, engaging, inspirational, relatable, accountable, problem solver, bold, strategic, tactical, honest, inclusive, kind, resourceful, authentic, empowering, proactive, forward-thinking, teacher, coach, competent, agile, team builder, compassionate, thoughtful, accessible, responsive, timely, gracious, knowledgeable, vulnerable, networked, balanced, self-motivated, calm, confident, clear, concise, articulate, self-less, influencer, self-aware, results oriented, fearless, role model (OMG – breath!) . . ., suggests that Leaders have an obligation to be action oriented about serving-up the very best of themselves (forbes.com/video).
Development Ideas For Improving YOUR Leadership Skills in 2016
- Leverage formal tools to enhance your self-awareness and gain relevant insights about your modus operandi. With the appropriate guidance these resources can be helpful: Multi-Rater Feedback Surveys and Personality Assessments (i.e., Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Predictive Index, DiSC Profiles, Personalysis Profile…).
- Broaden your reading list to include books, articles, websites that challenge and inform. The Leadership Challenge 5th Edition, Kouzes & Posner is an excellent book with practical insights.
- Deal with those life issues that are ailing you. There’s a spillover affect that becomes a distraction and compromises your effectiveness. Commit to counseling if needed.
- Establish metrics on how you will improve the diversity and inclusion on your team – the team culture and the gender and ethnic makeup. Deal with your biases that are inhibiting progress in this area. Conscious or unconscious, we all have them. The social ills of our world don’t stop at the office entrance. Engage HR/People resources. Challenge them to challenge your leadership (hbr.org).
- Rethink your team interactions. Seek opportunities to develop, inform, build trust, collaborate, and celebrate team members.
- Broaden your relationships and network to include people 2-3 levels below you that are more inclined to tell you the unadulterated truth. Brace yourself for what you might learn. But know this – it takes courage to hear what others think about your leadership and for you to act on the learning. Go for it!
- Lend your talents to nonprofit organization(s) with the aim of contributing your knowledge and skills while enhancing your leadership disposition (blueavocado.org).
- Participate in formal leadership development experiences like forums, conferences, webinars, seminars, and course work. Don’t rule out the possibility of a Coach.
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