Amp Up Your Leadership Game

Depositphotos_63169903_s-2015In the spirit of “no time like the present,” now is the perfect time to step back and take stock of what you need to amp up your leadership game.  Here are three simple ideas (and a downloadable tool) for keeping your leadership development front and center.

  1. Own the fact that leadership development is paramount to your success and take the initiative to make it happen. No matter where you are within your organization’s food chain, leadership development is critical to your growth.  In today’s world, the leadership skills you bring to the table are unlikely to be those that carry you to your next opportunity.  The job you have today is unlikely to be the same in five years (or less); your manager will likely be different and the company for which you work is likely to change as well.  In other words, invest in yourself for the best return – you deserve it!
  2. Understand what you need most to develop as a leader.There are numerous studies making the connection between successful leaders and emotional intelligence. In a nutshell, leaders with strong awareness of their strengths and blind spots tend to be more effective leaders. There’s nothing like a 360 to help you build that awareness.  If you can’t invest in a 360, solicit feedback regularly from direct reports, a trusted peer and manager, where appropriate.  It can be humbling to hear that your leadership style may not be serving you and others well.  However, it may be exactly what’s in your way for that next career step.
  3. Devise your leadership development plan for the coming year. For starters, ask yourself the following questions and use this downloadable tool to help you formulate your plan:
  • Which conferences, panels and/or workshops do I want to attend?
  • In what training programs do I want to participate?
  • In which certifications do I want to invest?
  • What books do I want to read to facilitate my leadership development?
  • To what publications will I subscribe (and which will I let go of)?
  • In which professional organizations do I want to join, or more actively participate?
  • Who’s on my list of people I count on to give me straightforward feedback and hold me accountable for the changes I want to make?
  • How can I enhance my outside network to support my growth? With whom do I want to stay in better touch?
  • Who can mentor me along this next phase of development?

There you have it – three ways to start the year out right.  Investing in your professional development keeps you fresh and on your toes. Furthermore, developing your leadership skills is not a one and done experience.  It’s more like sharpening the blades on the snow blower before winter kicks in. If you don’t do it every year, that Nor’easter is going to be a much heavier lift in years to come.

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