A Practical Journey towards Leadership Development
This is the first article in a series outlining an approach to building leadership capability.
Since 1985 we at Peak Performance have coached and trained with a myriad of organizations in both the public and private sectors. We hear the same questions and comments over and over again. People tell us that they have read the latest leadership book or listened to a podcast but cannot see how the information contained within relates or applies to them. They say I don’t work in Silicon Valley for Apple or Google or Facebook, I am not like Steve Jobs or Jack Welch, how does this information apply to me? So the book is relegated to the shelf and little if any knowledge or ideas are transferred to their workplace. At Peak Performance we believe, that in today’s overly complex, fast-paced, and competitive workplace, leaders need solutions they can use effectively and efficiently. Our approach draws on best practices in adult learning and is measured against three key principles.
The information must be:
Simple: easy to understand and apply
Relevant: based on real world applications, not theory; and
Effective: produces measurable results
We teach principles and ideas that are applicable to real life work situations that all who manage or supervise people can use.
5 steps you need to take to become a better leader
1. – Search your motivation. Ask yourself why do I want to be a better leader?
Motivation can be defined as a willingness to expend energy to achieve a goal or reward. What are you willing to do to become a better leader? Why? Here are some ideas. I don’t know if this list is exhaustive but people tend to get motivated if any combination of these factors apply to their circumstance.
· Challenge – you may want to pursue a leadership goal that has personal meaning
· Curiosity –something has made you want to learn more about leadership
· Control – you may want more control over yourself or your work environment
· Cooperation/competition – you enjoy helping others or getting ahead
· Recognition – you want to be recognized by others for the work you do
Internal or intrinsic motivation is very personal. Intrinsic motivation is defined as doing an activity for its inherent satisfaction rather than for some external consequences i.e “being told to work on your leadership skills”. It is the most powerful form of motivation.
2. - Take a decision to become a better leader
The next step in any journey towards leadership development is to take the decision that you want to become a better leader. That you are willing to do the work necessary. All too often people become a supervisor or manager because it is the only way to “get ahead”. Sadly, it seems that in most organizations the only way to grow your career is to take on the management mantle. There are many people who are in a leadership role not because of passion or interest but because they had maxed out as an individual contributor. We have heard of many people who say I really don’t want this role but I can’t go back.
3. Understand that leadership development is a process of self-development
Leadership development for all of us is a process of self-development. We must want it enough to take the action that it takes to become an excellent leader. Read books, listen to podcasts, and seek out mentors but above all take action. Talking or thinking about becoming a better leader is not the same thing as doing it.
4. Seek to understand what kind of leader you are today
You can’t fix or improve what you don’t know. Ask for feedback from your team, colleagues, boss and/or anyone else whose opinion matters to you. Listen to what they say. Don’t be defensive if you receive some constructive criticism. Say thank you. Think about what you can do to address the situation.
5. Above all else, take action and stick with it
I believe that leadership is a profession and you should be proud to be. To borrow a tag line from an old commercial… “Be the best that you can be”.
Becoming a better leader is a lifetime commitment the sooner you get started the better it will be for everyone.
In our next article we will delve into motivation and engagement two essential skills for all great leaders.
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