Steps to develop your leadership. Motivate yourself to develop your competencies.
To become a good leader, you need the drive to develop yourself. We use the term “developmental readiness”. Assess your current strengths and development needs.
All development programs need a starting point. We begin with an assessment of your current strengths and areas for improvement. Engage in self-reflection and discover what you are good at. Also, you can get feedback on your leadership strengths and needs by asking your coworkers, your peers, and your superiors.
In organizations, getting feedback from “all directions” is a big part of most leadership development programs. The advantage is that you can get feedback from those around you who see you in different roles and from different perspectives.
Steps to develop your leadership: The core skills that leaders most often need
The leader must be emotionally intelligent and have the right character to lead effectively. Each of these competencies can be developed, but all require hard work. Sometimes leaders just make bad decisions. Some leaders fail because they lack of empathy and lose the support of their followers.
Develop cognitive and social skills
Good leaders must be smart. It means that you must know what you’re doing and how to make the right choices. Learn about your business and your team. Learn how to collect and analyze data to inform decisions. Be “socially savvy” by learning to be discreet in communications and seeing things from others’ perspectives. Learn how to ask for valuable feedback from your team, peers, and mentors.
Steps to develop your leadership: Develop emotional skills
It’s not enough to simply be smart. A good leader, too, needs to be emotionally intelligent. Emotional intelligence is the ability to read the emotions of others. It’s to know when they are happy or upset with what you are saying or doing. It’s also about learning to control your emotional expressions, not acting out of anger, and keeping stress under control.
Develop your character
Leaders can be smart and competent, but it’s all for naught if the leader can’t do the right thing. Character is critically important to keep a leader on the right path. A well-proven model for developing a leader’s character is to focus on the 4 cardinal virtues:
1) Fairness: be just in your treatment of others.
2) Temperance: regulate your emotions and passions.
3) Prudence: be wise and consider the views of others.
4) Fortitude or courage: having the courage to do the right thing. Taking risks. Being willing to risk your career rather than do something unethical.
Steps to develop your leadership: Set good development objectives
Regardless of the skills you are trying to develop, it’s important to set good development goals. Objectives should be:
- Specific: know exactly what you want to improve.
- Measurable: figure out how to evaluate improvement.
- Achievable: don’t set goals so high that they frustrate you.
- Realistic: similarly, don’t make goals too easy so that there is no challenge.
- Timely: set a specific time frame for developing leadership skills.
You must receive feedback when developing your skills. Have a mentor or coach give you honest and constructive feedback on your strategy. If you team up with a colleague who is also working on leadership development, you will give each other feedback. Another strategy is to ask in your direct reports if you have noticed improvement. Mistakes are a learning tool to further develop your leadership.
Steps to develop your leadership: Reward yourself
Leadership development is hard work. Therefore, you must take time to reward yourself for improvement. Celebrate even small “wins” and improvements.
Developing leadership skills is not a one-time event. It’s a continuous program of improvement.
The chance of reaching the top in one’s professional field is a drive. It’s what makes it possible for many people to continue working, honing their leadership skills, and taking on new projects. At a certain point, however, professional development depends on more than just technical skills and drive. It also requires a set of social skills, which does not exclude the ability to assume a leadership position.
Steps to develop your leadership: Develop your leadership
If you want your career to go as far as possible, you must be willing to put in the work. These strategies will help you develop your leadership skills and keep your career moving forward.
A good leader needs discipline. Developing discipline in your professional (and personal) life should serve to make you an effective leader and inspire others to be disciplined as well. People will judge your leadership ability by how disciplined you are at work.
You can show your discipline at work by always meeting deadlines, keeping your appointments, and completing meetings on time. If you are naturally disorganized, you have a lot of work ahead of you. However, you can always start small: try to adopt good habits at home. For example, getting up early, exercising daily, and above all, working your way to the finish line.
Steps to develop your leadership: Take on more projects
A great way to develop your leadership skills is to take on more responsibility. You don’t have to take on more work than you can handle. But, if you want to grow, you have to do more than just stick to what’s expected in your position. Getting out of your comfort zone is the only way to learn something new. If you do, you will stand out to executives as someone who takes initiative.
Learn to delegate
A true leader has no problem delegating to others when necessary. You should not feel threatened when someone disagrees with your opinion, questions your thinking or proposes ideas of their own. Keep an open mind and give credit where credit’s due. It won’t always be easy. However, if you learn to value and respect other team members, they will be more willing to assume their responsibilities.
Steps to develop your leadership: Know the situation
What distinguishes a good leader is that he or she is able to have a broader perspective and anticipate problems before they arise. This is a valuable skill to have when managing hard projects with tight deadlines. A leader’s ability to anticipate and offer suggestions in order to avoid potential problems is priceless. This ability also helps you recognize opportunities that others overlook, which is sure to earn you recognition.
Being a leader means being part of a team and being able to motivate and inspire colleagues to work in the best possible way. When one of your team members needs support or guidance, offer it. Sometimes everything a person needs is someone to listen and show empathy.
Steps to develop your leadership: Keep learning
The best way to becoming a good leader is to keep learning new things. Your mind will always be sharp and your leadership skills up to date. It prepares you for new challenges that might come up, something that is always valued in a leader.
Empower your teammates
No one is the best at everything, and the sooner you realize this, the sooner you will learn to be a good leader. Delegating tasks to others not only frees you up to do other things you’re better at, but it also empowers other team members.
Steps to develop your leadership: Resolve conflicts
Not everyone is always going to get along. Instead of ignoring interpersonal conflicts and waiting for them to go away, address them by talking privately with the people involved. Also, you have to be willing to reassign team members in case the conflict can’t be resolved.
Listen with insight
Becoming a leader does not mean always being the center of attention. One of the most important traits of a good leader is to be able to listen to others. People who are good listeners take into account that communication is not only about words, but also about non-verbal language. For example, eye contact and body language.
Good leadership skills are critical to advancing your career, but as you can see, leadership is much more than just being in charge.