You didn’t get where you are today by not possessing some pretty great skills. All too often I meet with women who don’t know where to start when it comes to leadership training or coaching – and I tell them simply, start with what you have. Being a better leader means capitalizing on the skills and attributes you have, and defining the areas that need support or encouragement. Here’s how to choose your focus, appreciate who you already are, and how to lean in for support.
Define Your Leadership Development Goals
Maybe you’ve been in a leadership role for a while now, or you just hit the ground running faster than you thought you would due to an opportunity or challenge. Perhaps leadership is on the horizon or a goal of yours. Whatever the situation, being in a leadership role requires finesse and complex knowledge of who you are as a person. To improve your skills, you need a starting point – a goal so to speak. Setting a SMART goal will give shape to your plan and highlight the areas of accountability you’ll need to own. This requires action just as developing into a better leader does.
What is your goal for personal leadership development? Is it to learn how to handle stressful situations? Is it to increase communication skills? Maybe you wish to become more of a coach or mentor. Start with a goal that focuses on the exact skill you want to fortify. Being a better leader is a pretty arbitrary statement and it will be difficult to benchmark your development and growth unless you narrow it, drill down, and get to work.
The Good List
While there are natural born leaders – it’s less about a predetermined notion that some people just possess leadership skills while others don’t and more about the “natural” leaders recognizing their strengths and committing to making them even stronger. Leadership is a skill – like a muscle. Leave it as it is now and use it in the same capacity you currently do. Will it grow? Will it have more endurance? Will it make you stronger? Not unless you train for it, and deliberately practice. The best way to become a better leader is to fully understand who you are right now.
A lot of the misconception that people are born leaders or that it’s hard to become better at doing so comes from trying to adopt someone else’s style or strategy. You have qualities and attributes that make you unique and as mentioned, already great.
Find Your Goalie
In one of the groups I facilitated, I heard a woman say within her organization she has a “goalie” – someone on her team to hold her accountable in her leadership role. I thought that definition was great
There is no stopping point or end when it comes to leadership; it isn’t an event that happens and then it’s over. Leadership is an ever-evolving and dynamic part of your life. Treat it as such.